Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Adult obesity continues to be endemic in developed countries; at least 1 in every 5 people in developed economies is obese. In line with the theory of social suffering, socioeconomic factors may be correlated with the increasing prevalence of adult obesity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlation between socioeconomic factors and adult obesity prevalence rate in developed countries using Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries as a case study. In this study, the correlation between 2 independent variables - unemployment rate and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita - and the dependent variable - adult obesity prevalence rate - were investigated. The variables were retrieved from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website and tested for association. The type, strength, and significance of the association between the variables were all utilized to draw inferences. The findings of this study reveal that a positive correlation exists between unemployment rate and adult obesity prevalence rate, albeit weak and statistically nonsignificant and that a negative correlation exists between GDP per capita and adult obesity prevalence rate, albeit weak and statistically nonsignificant. This means that a lower unemployment rate, improved GDP per capita and, by extension, a better economy and less suffering in the society can, to an extent, assist in the reduction of the adult obesity prevalence rate in developed countries. The extent to which these factors can assist largely depends on how minimal the significant risk factors of adult obesity are in the population. In other words, while improved economy can act as leverage in the reduction of the adult obesity prevalence rate in developed economies, focus should be on modifying the significant risk factors of adult obesity, such as eating habit and a physical lifestyle.