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April 1997, Volume 21, Number 4, Pages 304-308
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Does area of residence affect body size and shape?
A Ellaway1, A Anderson2 and S Macintyre1

1MRC Medical Sociology Unit, 6 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow, G12 8RZ

2Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, Royal Infirmary, Queen Elizabeth Building, Glasgow G31 2ER

Correspondence: A Ellaway


OBJECTIVE: To examine whether neighbourhood or residence is associated with body size and shape (height, weight, BMI, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio). DESIGN: Analysis of data collected in fact to face interviews at the second wave of longitudinal health survey of two adult age cohorts in the West of Scotland. SETTING: Four socially contrasting urban neighbourhoods in Glasgow City, Scotland. SUBJECTS: A total of 691 subjects: 142 males and 176 females aged 40 at interview; and 167 males and 206 females aged 60 at interview. All had been resident in their current neighbourhood for at least four years. MEASUREMENTS: height, weight, BMI, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio. RESULTS: Neighbourhood of residence was significantly associated with height, BMI, waist circumference and waist-hip ratio after controlling for individual characteristics such as gender, age, social class, smoking behaviour and material deprivation (an index comprising income, housing tenure and car ownership). Individuals living in the most deprived neighbourhood were significantly shorter, and had bigger waist circumferences, waist-hip ratios and BMIs. CONCLUSIONS: If Health of the Nation targets on reducing the proportion of overweight individuals in the population are to be met, public health policy should focus on places as well as people.


body size; area of residence; deprivation

Received 9 September 1996; revised 24 December 1996; accepted 3 January 1997
April 1997, Volume 21, Number 4, Pages 304-308
Table of contents    Previous  Abstract  Next   Article  PDF