OBJECTIVES: While the prevalence of obesity in Asian women has remained stagnant, studies of socioeconomic inequalities in obesity among Asian women are scarce. This study aimed to examine the recent prevalence of obesity in Korean women aged between 19 years and 79 years and to analyze socioeconomic inequalities in obesity. METHODS: Data were derived from the 2016 Korean Study of Women's Health-Related Issues. The chi-square test and logistic regression analysis were used to analyze the associations between socioeconomic factors and obesity using Asian standard body mass index (BMI) categories: low (<18.5 kg/m2 ), normal (18.5-22.9 kg/m2 ), overweight (23.0-24.9 kg/m2 ), and obese (≥25.0 kg/ m2 ). As inequality-specific indicators, the slope index of inequality (SII) and relative index of inequality (RII) were calculated, with adjustment for age and self-reported health status. RESULTS: Korean women were classified into the following BMI categories: underweight (5.3%), normal weight (59.1%), overweight (21.2%), and obese (14.4%). The SII and RII revealed substantial inequalities in obesity in favor of more urbanized women (SII, 4.5; RII, 1.4) and against of women who were highly educated (SII, -16.7; RII, 0.3). Subgroup analysis revealed inequalities in obesity according to household income among younger women and according to urbanization among women aged 65-79 years. CONCLUSIONS: Clear educational inequalities in obesity existed in Korean women. Reverse inequalities in urbanization were also apparent in older women. Developing strategies to address the multiple observed inequalities in obesity among Korean women may prove essential for effectively reducing the burden of this disease.
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