Healthy nutrition in Germany: A survey analysis of social causes, obesity and socioeconomic status

Mader, Sebastian; Rubach, Malte; Schaecke, Wolfram; Röger, Christine; Feldhoffer, Ina; Thalmeier, Eva-Magdalena (2020). Healthy nutrition in Germany: A survey analysis of social causes, obesity and socioeconomic status. Public health nutrition, 23(12), pp. 2109-2123. Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S1368980019004877

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Objective: The obesity pandemic is an increasing burden for society. Information on key drivers of the nutrition cycle of (a) social causation, (b) biological causation, and (c) health selection is vital for effective policies targeted at the reduction of obesity prevalence. However, empirical causal knowledge on (a) the social predictors of diet quality, (b) its impact on corpulence, and (c) the socio-economic consequences of obesity is sparse. We overcome the limitations of previous research and acquire comprehensive causal insight into this cycle.
Design: Therefore, we analyze two German socio-epidemiological panel surveys exploiting their longitudinal panel structure utilizing hybrid panel regression models.
Setting: general population of Germany.
Participants: German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS, n=17’640, age: 0-24) and the German National Nutrition Monitoring (NEMONIT, n=2’610, age: 15-82).
Results: The results indicate that (a) interestingly only gender, education, and age explain healthy diets. (b) Increases in a newly developed Optimized Healthy Eating Index (O-HEI-NVSII), and in nuts intake reduce body mass index, while growing overall energy intake, lemonade, beer, and meat (products) intake drive corpulence. (c) In turn, developing obesity decreases socio-economic status.
Conclusions: These results suggest that policies targeted at the reduction of obesity prevalence may be well advised to focus on boys and men, people with low education, the promotion of a healthy diet and nuts intake, and the limitation of lemonade, beer, and meat (products) intake. Therefore, future research may focus on the replication of our findings utilizing longer panels and experimental approaches.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Mader, Sebastian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Cambridge University Press




Sebastian Mader

Date Deposited:

19 May 2020 16:18

Last Modified:

09 Jan 2021 13:00

Publisher DOI:


Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

nutritional behavior research; nutrition-related health risks; obesity; mixed effects panel regression;




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