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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2018

The association between obesity and social exclusion in middle-aged and older adults: findings from a nationally representative study in Germany

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2018
André Hajek, Hans-Helmut König



There is a lack of studies that focus explicitly on the association between social exclusion and obesity. The aim of the present study was to identify whether social exclusion is associated with obesity in older adults, and whether this association is moderated by sex.


Data were derived from wave 5 (2014) of the German Ageing Survey - a representative sample of individuals residing in private households aged 40 and over in Germany. A validated scale developed by Bude and Lantermann was used to assess social exclusion. Individuals with body-mass-index ≥30 kg/m2 were classified as being obese. Multiple linear regressions were applied in this study.


Linear regressions showed that social exclusion was not associated with obesity in the total sample and in men, whereas women with obesity were less socially excluded than women without obesity (β = −.06, p = .02). The corresponding interaction term (sex x obesity) achieved statistical significance (p = .03).


Our findings emphasize the negative association between social exclusion and obesity in women, but not men, highlighting the complex interplay between social factors and excess weight in individuals aged 40 and above. Future longitudinal studies are needed to clarify this relationship in further detail.
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