Association of body mass index with educational level in Iranian men and women
Objective: Investigation of the relationship between educational level, body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), physical activity and parity in a group of Iranian men and women living in Tehran. Design: A cross-sectional study in a group of Iranian men and women. The subjects were classified into two educational levels: low education (less than or equal to12 y schooling) and high education (>12 y schooling); and BMI, WHR, physical activity and parity (in women) were compared in two groups in men and women, separately. Setting: Metabolic Unit of Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran. Subjects: Three hundred and fifteen men aged 33.1 (22-46) and 403 women aged 27.9 (22-45). Results: After controlling for age and smoking, women with a higher level of education showed a significantly lower mean BMI than less educated women (24.8 +/- 74.2 vs 28.3 +/- 74.9, P<0.01), while more educated men had a higher mean BMI than less educated men (28.4 +/- 4.3 vs 26.7 +/- 4.5). In multiple regression analysis, physical activity in leisure time in men and years of education in women were the only determinants of BMI. After controlling for BMI, WHR was not related to the level of education in either men or women. Conclusion: The present data indicated an educational difference in BMI for the study population. In Iranian women, like the women in developed countries, the level of education was negatively related to BMI, while in men the association was positive. Sponsorship: This work was financially supported by the Institute of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences.