What is the role of adolescent body mass index and physical activity on adult health risk behaviors?


Introduction: A high prevalence of modifiable risk factors exists among adolescents that may lead to increased levels of morbidity and mortality in adulthood. This study sought to determine whether higher levels of physical activity (PA) and/or having a healthy body weight in adolescence influences future health risk behaviors (HRB) in young adulthood. Methods: Complete data were gathered for 536 participants from a prospective study and a follow-up survey conducted 10 years apart. At both time points, the questionnaires included information about HRB, PA, and health status. Results: Males who engaged in HRB during adolescence were more likely to continue these same risk behaviors during adulthood. Using multivariate models, only HRB in adolescence predicted HRB in adulthood for drinking, binge drinking and smoking among males, and for binge drinking and smoking among females. Conclusions: It appears that for males, once a health-risk behavior is initiated, it will likely continue into young adulthood, regardless of the presence of other healthy behaviors such as the proper maintenance of body weight and higher levels of PA. Similarly for females, binge drinking and smoking in adolescence is predictive of the same behavior in adulthood.

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Pintar, J. , Storti, K. , Arena, V. , Robertson, R. , Nagle, E. and Kriska, A. (2012) What is the role of adolescent body mass index and physical activity on adult health risk behaviors?. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2, 72-78. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2012.21011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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