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The weight of social inequality: the case of obesity

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: social inequality in health, obesity, interdisciplinary approach, fundamental cause, health-related lifestyles.

Started in the '80 with the publication of the Black Report, the debate about social inequality in health keeps being very current. While the last century has seen great social and medical advances that have translated into longer life expectancy and improved quality of life, social differences in health continue to exist, even in high-income western countries. A clear case of social inequality in health is obesity, a disease and a risk factor for many health related outcomes that is disproportionately diffused among people of lower social status, education and income. In the first part, this article addresses the question of the nature and aetiology of obesity, pointing out the synergistic role of social and genetic factors in explaining its origin. In the second part, the article examines some of the major reasons for the linkage between socio-economic status and obesity and, finally, it suggests some possible improvements in the study of obesity as a case of social inequality in health.

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