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29.07.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 9/2017

International Journal of Public Health 9/2017

Socioeconomic patterning of chronic conditions and behavioral risk factors in rural South Asia: a multi-site cross-sectional study

International Journal of Public Health > Ausgabe 9/2017
Nandita Bhan, Christopher Millett, S. V. Subramanian, Amit Dias, Dewan Alam, Joseph Williams, Preet K. Dhillon
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00038-017-1019-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Our aim was to examine relationships between markers of socioeconomic status and chronic disease risks in rural South Asia to understand the etiology of chronic diseases in the region and identify high-risk populations.


We examined data from 2271 adults in Chennai, Goa and Matlab sites of the Chronic Disease Risk Factor study in South Asia. We report age–sex adjusted odds ratios for risk factors (tobacco, alcohol, fruit–vegetable use and physical activity) and common chronic conditions (hypertension, diabetes, overweight, depression, impaired lung and vision) by education, occupation and wealth.


Respondents with greater wealth and in non-manual professions were more likely to be overweight [OR = 2.48 (95% CI 1.8,3.38)] and have diabetes [OR = 1.88 (95% CI 1.02,3.5)]. Wealth and education were associated with higher fruit and vegetable [OR = 1.89 (95% CI 1.48,2.4)] consumption but lower physical activity [OR = 0.52 (95% CI 0.39,0.69)]. Non-manual workers reported lower tobacco and alcohol use, while wealthier respondents reported better vision and lung function.


Ongoing monitoring of inequalities in chronic disease risks is needed for planning and evaluating interventions to address the growing burden of chronic conditions.

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