The Changing Relationship between Islam, Women’s Status and Female Obesity between 1992 and 2005

Petra Nahmias, Princeton University

Obesity in middle-income developing countries is becoming a significant public health issue and has been increasing dramatically in recent years. The sociology and etiology of obesity differ greatly from that of developed countries and this relatively new phenomenon is still poorly understood. This paper uses Egyptian demographic and health surveys from 1992 to 2005 to examine the changing relationship between social determinants such as religion and women’s status and female obesity in Egypt. Preliminary results indicate that obesity is more prevalent among urban and educated women, but that the differential is changing over time. Ethnographic work has indicated the importance of both religion and women’s status in obesity and this paper uses various statistical models to quantitatively build on this work. This paper also explores the use of recursive partitioning models and their suitability for sociological research.

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Presented in Poster Session 3