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July 1, 2022

Residential Property Values are Associated with Obesity among Women in King County, WA, USA

Rehm, Colin D.; Moudon, Anne V.; Hurvitz, Philip M.; Drewnowski, Adam. (2012). Residential Property Values are Associated with Obesity among Women in King County, WA, USA. Social Science & Medicine, 75(3), 491 – 495.

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Studies of social determinants of weight and health in the US have typically relied on self-reported education and incomes as the two primary measures of socioeconomic status (SES). The assessed value of one's home, an important component of wealth, may be a better measure of the underlying SES construct and a better predictor of obesity. The Seattle Obesity Study (SOS), conducted in 2008-9, was a cross-sectional random digit dial telephone survey of 2001 adults in King County, Washington State, US. Participants' addresses were geocoded and residential property values for each tax parcel were obtained from the county tax assessor's database. Prevalence ratios of obesity by property values, education, and household income were estimated separately for women and men, after adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, household size, employment status and home ownership. Among women, the inverse association between property values and obesity was very strong and independent of other SES factors. Women in the bottom quartile of property values were 3.4 times more likely to be obese than women in the top quartile. No association between property values and obesity was observed for men. The present data strengthen the evidence for a social gradient in obesity among women. Property values may represent a novel and objective measure of SES at the individual level in the US. Measures based on tax assessment data will provide a valuable resource for future health studies. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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