The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
YC and DCR contributed to the design of the study, researched data, contributed to the discussion and wrote the manuscript. CPK performed the statistical analysis and reviewed/edited the manuscript. BJ, LH, WP, RD, JL, JAD and PP helped to design the study, contributed to the discussion and reviewed/edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
YC is a Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa. DCR is a Professor at the College of Nursing and the Canadian Centre of Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA), University of Saskatchewan. CPK is a biostatistician and Professional Research Associate at the CCHSA. BJ is an Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan. LH is a Professional Research Associate and Project Manager of SRHS. WP is a Professor at the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen’s University, Kingston. RD is a Professor at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. JL is an Associate Professor at the Department of Medicine and CCHSA, University of Saskatchewan. JAD is a Professor and Respirologist in the College of Medicine and CCHSA, University of Saskatchewan. PP is a Professor at the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and CCHSA, University of Saskatchewan.
Obesity is prevalent in rural communities in Canada, however little is known about the social determinants of health and obesity in rural populations. Socioeconomic status has been found to be inversely associated with the risk of obesity in developed countries. This study investigated the relationship between income adequacy, education and obesity in a rural setting.
The study used data from 5391 adults aged 18–69 who participated in the Saskatchewan Rural Health Study in 2010. Participants completed a survey that included questions about location of residence, body weight, height, and socio-demographic and behavioral factors. Obesity was defined as body mass index being ≥ 30 kg/m2. Logistic regression using generalized estimating equation was conducted to assess the associations of income adequacy and education level with the prevalence of obesity taking covariates into consideration.
Approximately a third of the participants were obese and the prevalence of obesity was similar for men and women. The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher for rural residents not living on farm compared with those living on farm (p < 0.05). After adjustment for potential confounders, the risk of obesity was increased for those with ≤ 12 years of education compared with those with > 12 years of education (aOR: 1.18; 95 % CI: 1.05 - 1.34). Low income adequacy was significantly associated with an increased risk of obesity but only among those not living on farm (aOR: 1.80; 95 % CI: 1.16 – 2.79).
Home location was associated with obesity prevalence in rural Saskatchewan and modified the influence of income adequacy, but not the influence of education, on obesity. Adults not living on farm had an increased risk of obesity and showed a significant impact of income adequacy on obesity.