Poverty, Weight Status, and Dietary Intake among UK Adolescents

Robert Noonan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
181 Downloads (Pure)


The aims of this study were to (1) determine whether an income gradient to overweight and obesity exists in UK adolescents, and (2) examine associations between poverty, weight status, and dietary intake among adolescent girls and boys. Data is from wave six of the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Adolescent height and weight were measured. Body mass index was calculated (kg/m2) and used to classify overweight and obesity. Family income and poverty were determined using equivalised household income. Adjusted logistic and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted. Ten thousand seven hundred thirty-six adolescents (5425 boys) had complete data. Adolescents in the lowest income group were at greatest risk of overweight and obesity. Adolescents living in poverty were more likely to be overweight and obese, and reported more frequent consumption of sweetened drinks and fast food and less frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables (p < 0.001). The magnitude of poverty differences in weight status and dietary intake were greatest among girls. This study evidences a strong income gradient to overweight and obesity among UK adolescents. The findings of this study encourage researchers and policy makers to be equally mindful of the social determinants of health when advocating adolescent behavioural dietary interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Early online date10 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2018


  • adolescent
  • body mass index
  • obesity
  • dietary intake
  • poverty


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