Resilience to obesity amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged women: the READI study
Ball, K and Abbott, G and Cleland, V and Timperio, A and Thornton, L and Mishra, G and Jeffery, RW and Brug, J and King, A and Crawford, D, Resilience to obesity amongst socioeconomically disadvantaged women: the READI study, International Journal of Obesity, 36, (6) pp. 855-865. ISSN 0307-0565 (2012) [Refereed Article]
Objective: This cross-sectional study aimed to identify sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics of
32 ‘overweight-resilient’ women, i.e., women who were in a healthy body weight range, despite living in
33 socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods that place them at increased risk of obesity. The study also
34 aimed to test a comprehensive theoretically-derived model of the associations between intrapersonal, social and
35 environmental factors and obesity amongst this target group.
36 Participants: 3 235 women aged 18-45 years from 80 urban and rural neighbourhoods throughout Victoria,
37 Australia, participating in the Resilience for Eating and Activity Despite Inequality (READI) study.
38 Measurements: Women reported height, weight, sociodemographic characteristics, leisure-time physical
39 activity, dietary behaviours, and a range of theoretically-derived cognitive, social and neighbourhood
40 environmental characteristics hypothesized to influence obesity risk. A theoretical model predicting body mass
41 index was tested using structural equation models.
42 Results: Women classified as ‘resilient’ to obesity tended to be younger, born overseas, more highly educated,
43 unmarried, and to have higher or undisclosed household incomes. They engaged in more leisure-time physical
44 activity, and consumed less fast foods and soft drinks than overweight/obese women. Neighbourhood
45 characteristics, social characteristics and cognitive characteristics all contributed to explaining variation in BMI in
46 the hypothesized directions.
47 Conclusions: These results demonstrate several characteristics of women appearing ‘resilient’ to obesity, despite
48 their increased risk conferred by residing in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Acknowledging
49 the cross-sectional study design, the results advance theoretical frameworks aimed at investigating obesity risk
50 by providing evidence in support of a comprehensive model of direct and indirect effects on obesity of
51 neighbourhood as well as social, cognitive, and behavioural characteristics.