Health production and risk of obesity among Chilean adolescents: Understanding health related behaviors in youth


Background: Adolescent obesity is associated with high cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Western diet and reduced physical activity are strong environmental determinants. The “Health Production” model posits that individuals born with a certain amount of health stock, which depreciates over life, but can be augmented by individual behaviors, including exercise and dieting. Objective: To study the association between health production and obesity in a random sample of 1692 Chilean adolescents (14.8 ± 0.7 years old), and to study the effect of gender and socioeconomic characteristics on health production. Method: We used an indicator that considered the quality of food intake and physical activity, establishing three categories: good (GHP), intermediate (IHP) and poor health producers (PHP). Multivariate analysis was used to study the odds of obesity and good health production. Results: There was 31% of GHP, 32% of IHP and 38% of PHP. Obesity (Adj. OR: 1.59; 95%CI: 1.04 - 2.42) and abdominal obesity (Adj. OR: 2.24; 95%CI: 1.35 - 3.40) were significantly higher in the PHP group, compared to the GHP and IHP group. Health production was significantly associated with socioeconomic factors and gender. Female sex and coming from a less wealthy household significantly reduced the odds of good health production. Conclusions: Poor health production in adolescence, as defined by food intake and physical activity, depreciates individuals’ “health stock”, increasing the risk of obesity. In our sample, health production was strongly associated with socio-economic factors and gender.

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Correa-Burrows, P. , Burrows, R. , Uauy, R. and Albala, C. (2012) Health production and risk of obesity among Chilean adolescents: Understanding health related behaviors in youth. Health, 4, 1413-1419. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.412A204.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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