Obesity prevalence is increasing worldwide and is associated with a high health risk. Unfavorable psychological factors, lower self-ratings of health, and worse health-related behavior can be found in individuals with a low socioeconomic status (SES). Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate whether obese subjects with a high SES differ from those with a low SES depending on these outcomes.
Data of the Austrian Health Interview Survey (ATHIS) 2006/2007—precisely of 760 obese subjects with a low SES and 851 with a high SES—were analyzed stratified by sex and adjusted by age with regard to differences in self-perceived health, quality of life (regarding physical and psychological health, environment, and social relationships), and health-related behavior (smoking, alcohol consumption, eating behavior, physical exercise).
The results have shown that obese subjects with a low SES differ significantly from those with a high SES in terms of self-perceived health, quality of life, and intensity of physical activities. Furthermore, differences were found in obese women as to smoking behavior, alcohol consumption, and continuance of physical exercise.
It seems that not only obesity but also the socioeconomic status plays a role in health, and the risk assessment of obese individuals in the primary health care setting should include socioeconomic factors. Furthermore, public health programs which focus on obese subjects with a low SES are urgently needed.