Does Education Determine Healthy Weight in Korea?

YeonJin Lee, University of Pennsylvania

In this study, I investigate the education gradient in weight status by utilizing the Korean National Health Survey conducted in 2008–2012. Identifying socioeconomic factors that affect the distribution of weight status is increasingly important in Korea given the sharp rise in obesity during the past decades. It is crucial to test plausible gender differences in the association between education and weight given that social norms about ideal body weight often differ for men and women. I assess (i) whether the inverse relationship between education and obesity/overweight, which is commonly found in the Western countries, is observed in Korea; (ii) whether education is associated with obesity/overweight independent of other measures of SES and health behaviors; and (iii) whether these relationships vary by gender. The results show that there is a strong negative relationship between education and obesity in Korean women only, and income and occupation do not attenuate this relationship.

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Presented in Session 158: Obesity in Developing Nations: Determinants and Consequences