The effect of area level deprivation on obesity in New Zealand: analysis of the New Zealand health surveys
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Health Sciences
Background: In New Zealand 31% of adults and one in nine children aged 2–14 years were obese in 2014/15. According to the 2014/15 New Zealand health survey, people who lived in the most deprived areas were almost two times more likely to be obese than those who lived in the least deprived areas.
Objectives: To assess the association between the area level deprivation and overweight/obesity prevalence while controlling for demographic variables and health-related behaviours.
Method: The analyses were based on the health surveys conducted from 2002/03 to 2014/15 in New Zealand. This study assessed area level deprivation using the New Zealand Deprivation Index. Proportional odds logistic regression with sampling weights was used to answer the objective.
Results: Adults who lived in deprivation quintile five were more likely (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.33–1.60) to be in the higher Body Mass Index (BMI) tertiles compared with those who lived in quintile one, and the association was stronger in children (OR 1.76, 95% CI 1.50–2.06). Pacific (OR 8.41, 95% CI 7.22–9.79) and M¯aori adults (OR 3.01, 95% CI 2.75–3.29) had a higher odds to be in the higher BMI tertiles compared with Europeans.
Conclusion: Based on the representative nationwide dataset, I found that higher deprivation quintiles were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of being in the higher BMI categories after controlling for demographic information and health behaviours. Public health interventions targeting obesity should take into account the deprivation level and ethnic groups’ composition of the communities.