Open Access Open Badges Research article

Influences of socioeconomic factors on childhood and adolescent overweight by gender in Korea: cross-sectional analysis of nationally representative sample

Jin-Won Noh1, Young-eun Kim2, In-Hwan Oh3 and Young Dae Kwon4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Healthcare Management, Eulji University, 212 Yangji-dong, Sujeong-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do 461-713, Korea

2 Department of Biostatistics, Korea University College of Medicine, Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul 136-705, Korea

3 Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 130-701, Korea

4 Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine and Catholic Institute for Healthcare Management, the Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 137-701, Korea

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:324  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-324

Published: 7 April 2014



Childhood and adolescent overweight is a recognized public health concern as the prevalence is already high and continues to increase. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and overweight status by gender among Korean children and adolescents.


The data used in this study were taken from the 2009 Korean Survey on the Obesity of Youth and Children. Underweight individuals (n = 1,010) and children and adolescents whose age, height, or weight information was missing (n = 591) were excluded from the data set, resulting in a total of 8,555 subjects who were included in this analysis. Subjective SES, parental education level, parental occupational status, and family structure were used to measure parental SES. Chi-squared tests were used for univariable analysis and multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted for multivariable analysis.


After adjusting for subject’s characteristics including gender, age, parental interest in weight management of children, parental body shape, economic status variables that significantly influenced childhood overweight were identified. Low economic status increased the probability of childhood overweight (odds ratio, 1.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.5).


There is an inverse association between parental SES variables and the overweight status of children and adolescents. Additionally, parental body shape is an important factor that influences childhood and adolescent overweight.

Childhood and adolescent overweight; Korea; Socioeconomic factors