Spatial differences in childhood and adolescent obesity according to sex and migrant status in Vienna, Austria

  • Sylvia Kirchengast
  • Dominik Hagmann University of Vienna, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
Keywords: childhood obesity, spatial differences, Vienna, social environment, the background of migration, gender differences


Background The marked spatial differences in the prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity rates within cities are mainly due to environmental characteristics of individual intracity areas. This is the first analysis of spatial differences in the prevalence of overweight/obesity among children in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Subjects and methods In the medical-record-based study, the weight status of 1611 Viennese school children of lower socioeconomic backgrounds at the ages of six, ten, and 15 years from 46 randomly selected public secondary schools were included. Medical data have been obtained at schools by trained members of the Medical school authority. Besides effects of sex and background of migration, associations between weight status and the natural as well as social environments of the residential and school districts were analyzed. Since the 23 political districts of Vienna differ markedly in socioeconomic and environmental characteristics, a comparison between the districts was carried out.

Results Especially high overweight and obesity rates were found for the socially disadvantaged areas of the 10th, 12th, and 15th political district of Vienna. Children living and attending schools in better-off districts had lower rates of overweight and obesity, despite their low social status. The most important factors influencing overweight and obesity were parameters of the social environment and characteristics of the residential area of the children. Significant associations between the body mass index and unemployment rates, average monthly income, the educational level of the district population, the proportion of migrants in the district, and sociodemographic cluster areas could be observed. This was equally true for girls and boys, as well as children with or without a migrant background.

Conclusion In general, socially disadvantaged, inner-city areas showed extremely high prevalence rates of obesity.


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How to Cite
Kirchengast, S., & Hagmann, D. (2022). Spatial differences in childhood and adolescent obesity according to sex and migrant status in Vienna, Austria. Human Biology and Public Health, 1.