Effect of husbands' education on fatness of wives



The aim of the study was to examine the relationship between social position of females achieved by marriage and level of fatness and relative fat distribution. The data of 588 healthy, occupationally active, married women, age 21–62 years, with 12 years of education (completed secondary school) were used. The body mass index (BMI, kg/m2 ), triceps and subscapular skinfold thicknesses, and summed skinfold thicknesses were used as indicators of fatness. The waist–hip ratio, the waist–thigh ratio, and waist, hip, and thigh circumferences were used as indicators of fat distribution. According to the educational level of husbands, women were grouped as 1) moving up the social scale (spouse with complete university education), 2) stable (equal level of education), and 3) moving down the social scale (spouse who never passed beyond the level of basic vocational school, i.e., skilled and unskilled manual workers). The two opposite groups were analyzed, i.e., moving up and moving down. Women with secondary schooling who married up were consistently leaner than women who married down. A similar pattern was observed for fat distribution. Women marrying down had more abdominal body fat compared to women marrying up. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 15:1–7, 2003. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.