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Social Statistics

Vanessa Higgins


Ethnic Differences in Obesity

PhD summary

Previous research has identified ethnic differences in adult obesity but has not fully explored the pathways that explain the ethnic differences, which may relate to both individual and area level characteristics.

This thesis identifies ethnic differences in obesity for eight key ethnic groups in England, before and after accounting for a range of individual-level and area-level factors. In addition, the thesis explores ethno-religious differences in obesity. Four key pathways to obesity are explored: socio-economic, migration-related, culture and health behaviour. Area-level factors examined are area deprivation, co-ethnic density and ethnic area type.

As a basis for this comparative analysis, the thesis also examines approaches to the measurement of obesity. Data comes from four years of the Health Survey for England (1998, 1999, 2003 and 2004) and linked area-level data from the 2001 Census. Multi-level modelling methods are used to account for individual-level and area-level factors.


  • James Nazroo
  • Mark Brown


I am a full-time member of staff in CMI, studying part-time for my PhD. For my full bio, please see my staff page: