Background: There are many possible consequences of discrimination of overweight people such as stigma and weight-based stereotypes in our society. Examples are higher risk of being single, less opportunity to be hired in the labor market, less opportunity to achieve higher education and to be less desirable as a friend in order to have social contacts. All these stereotypes in our daily life are harmful to the high Body Mass Index (BMI) individuals and make us behave in a negative way which leads to the discrimination of high BMI individuals and weight - based stereotypes. In my Master thesis I am going to investigate the correlation between BMI as the outcome and independent variables such as civil status, work, social activities, mental health and feeling of discrimination which can be the result of social discrimination of the high BMI target group and I am going to analyze what factors are stronger as the results.
Methods: Data was provided by SSB's ”Level of living 2008 - Cross sectional study - Health” (Samordnet levekårsundersøkelse 2008 - Tversnitt Tema: Helse). The main topic of the Level of Living Survey 2008 is health issues such as: symptoms of health problems, functional ability, living habits, use of health services care, social contact. This survey also covered some other issues such as: civil status; work position; social contacts and activities; violence and threat; discrimination; gender; weight and height, which give us opportunity to calculate the BMI as the outcome. Having estimated simple linear regressions for each separate independent variable, I proceeded to estimate a multiple regression, thus investigating the effect of all independent variables together. In order to avoid a very complicated model, I used only those variables that were found significant in the simple regression analysis, and kept only variables with p-values below 20% in the final model. The analyses of the data were performed in PASW Statistics (Predictive Analytics Software)formely SPPS.
Results: The results of the survey indicate that (i) being a male is associated with an increase in BMI, (ii) being subjected to violence and threat is associated with a decrease in BMI and (iii) having less social contacts and less participating in the cultural activities is associated with an increase in BMI.
Interpretation/Conclusion: The results of this study imply that there are certain factors associated with an increase in BMI. Some findings are: being a male is associated with an increase in BMI, being subjected to violence and threat is associated with a decrease in BMI, having less social contacts and less participation in cultural activities is associated with an increase in BMI. However, the study do not support the suggestions that being single, being out of the labor market experiencing general discrimination or having mental problems are associated with higher BMI. In conclusion, not much evidence from data that people with higher BMI are experienced to have problems in everyday life in Norway.