Social Vulnerability and Obesity among U.S. Adults
Ruopeng An, Xiaoling Xiang

Obesity is a leading risk factor for morbidity and premature mortality. As a key indicator for public health preparedness, elevated social vulnerability may result in increased individual frailty. This study examined the relationship between residential county social vulnerability and overweight/obesity among U.S. adults.Individual-level data (661,360 adults residing in 2,250 counties) came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2011 and 2012 surveys. County-level social vulnerability was measured by the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and weight. Multilevel logistic regressions were performed to examine the associations between SVI quartiles and overweight/obesity.Compared to those residing in counties of the lowest SVI quartile, people living in counties of mid-low, mid-high, and highest SVI quartiles had 5.2% (95% confidence interval = 2.1%-8.4%), 6.8% (3.6%-10.0%), and 9.5% (6.0%-13.0%) higher odds of being overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25), and 5.1% (1.9%-8.3%), 4.9% (1.8%-8.2%), and 7.1% (3.7%-10.6%) higher odds of being obese (BMI ≥ 30), respectively. Social vulnerability may profoundly impact individuals’ weightrelated behaviors and outcomes. SVI could be a useful tool to guild community-based obesity prevention and health promotion initiatives besides its intended use for emergency preparedness.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijhs.v3n3a2