Demographic and socio-economic characteristics
While genetics may increase the susceptibility of certain individuals towards gaining weight, overweight and obesity can also be attributed to a number of environmental factors. These include a shift towards increased intake of foods high in fat and sugars, decreased physical activity due to social modernisation and changes in transportation, and the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work and activities such as watching television, movies and computer use(footnote 1) .
In this section, rates of overweight and obesity are examined in relation to factors such as age, sex, geography, socio-economic and work conditions. While certain factors may be associated with overweight and obesity, many are inter-related such as labour force status, household income and level of disadvantage.
1 WHO (World Health Organisation) 2006. World Health Organisation Fact Sheet 311