Publication - Research and analysis

Growing up in Scotland: overweight and obesity at age 10

Published: 26 Nov 2018

The report uses data from the Growing Up in Scotland study to investigate trajectories of overweight and obesity during the primary school years and identify key risk factors.

79 page PDF

1.1 MB

79 page PDF

1.1 MB

Contents
Growing up in Scotland: overweight and obesity at age 10
4. Socio-Economic and demographic variations in overweight and obesity at age 10

79 page PDF

1.1 MB

4. Socio-Economic and demographic variations in overweight and obesity at age 10

4.1. Introduction

Research on both child and adult overweight and obesity consistently demonstrates differences in rates among children with different socio-economic characteristics. For example, results from the 2016 Scottish Health Survey show that levels of overweight and obesity ranged from 33% and 32% amongst children living in areas in the two most deprived quintiles to around 25% for children living in less deprived areas (McLean et al, 2017). Previous analysis of GUS data has also borne out this trend. At age 6, 19% of children whose mother was degree educated were overweight or obese compared with 23% of children whose mother had qualifications up to Standard Grade or equivalent (Parkes et al, 2012).

This chapter will compare rates of overweight and obesity at ages 6, 8 and 10 according to sex and ethnicity and between children with different socio-economic backgrounds as measured by household income, parental level of education and area deprivation.

4.2. Key findings

  • Between age 6 and age 10, rates of overweight and obesity increase similarly both for boys and girls, and for children of white and other ethnicities. For example, boys increased from 25% to 34%, girls from 23% to 34%. There were no significant differences in the proportion of children overweight/obese by sex or ethnicity.
  • Increasing levels of overweight and obesity was also observed across all socio-economic sub-groups. For example, amongst children in the lowest income group overweight including obesity increased from 23% at age 6 to 36% at age 10 and for children in the highest income group from 20% to 29%.
  • Children in more disadvantaged groups showed a greater increase in overweight including obesity with age than children in more advantaged groups. As a result, social inequalities in levels of overweight and obesity widen between ages 6 and 10.

4.3. Demographic variations in overweight/obesity

Differences in the proportion of children overweight including obese by sex and ethnicity at each age point are shown in Table 4‑1. In both instances, the data show a clear and similar increase in rates of overweight (including obese) both for boys and girls, and for children of white and other ethnicities. None of the differences between sub-groups at any age point are statistically significant.

Table 4‑1 Percent of children overweight (incl. obese) at age 6, 8 and 10 years by sex and ethnicity, household income, parental level of education and area deprivation

  Age 6 Age 8 Age 10
Sex NS NS NS
Boys 25 27 34
Girls 23 30 34
Unweighted bases – boys 1372 1400 1400
Unweighted bases – girls 1338 1352 1354
Ethnicity NS NS NS
White 25 29 34
Other ethnicity 19 24 30
Unweighted bases – White 2617 2657 2660
Unweighted bases – Other ethnicity 91 93 92

NS = Not statistically significant; * p <.05; ** p <.01; *** p<.001

4.4. Socio-economic variations in overweight/obesity

The increase in the proportion of children who were overweight including obese between ages 6 and 10 can also be observed across all socio-economic sub-groups (Table 4‑2). For example, rates of overweight (including obesity) increased amongst children in all income groups[15], including from 23% at age 6 to 36% at age 10 amongst the lowest income group and from 20% to 29% amongst the highest income group.

Notably, the rates of change between sub-groups appear to be different with children in more disadvantaged groups showing a greater increase in overweight including obesity with age than children in more advantaged groups. Amongst children living in areas in the least deprived quintile[16], for example, there is very little change in rates of overweight including obese – rising just 3 percentage points from 22% at age 6 to 25% at age 10. In contrast, the proportion of children living in areas in the most deprived quintile that were overweight including obese increased by 15 percentage points from 24% to 39%. The result is that inequalities in the prevalence of overweight including obesity already observed at age 6 persist and have widened markedly by age 10.

Table 4‑2 Percent of children overweight (incl. obese) at age 6, 8 and 10 years by household income, parental level of education and area deprivation

  % overweight including obese
Age 6 Age 8 Age 10
Equivalised household income * NS **
Bottom Quintile (<£11,944) 23 29 36
2nd Quintile (>=£11,944 <£19,643) 29 30 37
3rd Quintile (>=£19,643 < £29,166) 26 29 35
4th Quintile (>=£29,166 < £37,500) 22 24 28
Top Quintile (>=£37,500) 20 25 29
Unweighted bases – bottom quintile 437 443 437
Unweighted bases – 2nd quintile 529 538 535
Unweighted bases – 3rd quintile 502 505 506
Unweighted bases – 4th quintile 549 556 563
Unweighted bases – 5th quintile 563 568 570
Highest parental level of education ** *** ***
No qualification 30 28 44
Lower level Standard Grades and Vocational qualifications / other qualifications 29 37 45
Upper level Standard Grades and Intermediate Vocational qualifications 25 32 38
Higher grades and Upper level vocational qualifications 28 31 36
Degree level academic and vocational qualifications 19 22 26
Unweighted bases – No qualifications 82 86 85
Unweighted bases – Lower level Standard Grades 94 95 95
Unweighted bases – Upper level Standard Grades 418 419 419
Unweighted bases – Higher Grades etc 894 922 923
Unweighted bases – Degree level 1217 1225 1228
Area deprivation (quintiles) NS NS ***
1 Least deprived 22 24 25
2 23 26 33
3 25 28 34
4 29 32 38
5 Most deprived 24 31 39
Unweighted bases – Least deprived 664 681 687
Unweighted bases – 2 665 668 673
Unweighted bases – 3 547 557 553
Unweighted bases – 4 464 473 469
Unweighted bases – Most deprived 370 373 372

NB: Income, education and area deprivation measured at age 6

* p <.05, ** p <.01. *** p<.001, NS = Not statistically significant


Contact

Email: Ewan Patterson