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Am J Public Health. 1997 May; 87(5): 747–754.
PMCID: PMC1381044

Stable behaviors associated with adults' 10-year change in body mass index and likelihood of gain at the waist.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors associated with change in body mass index or with weight gain at the waist. METHODS: A cohort of 79236 White, non-Hispanic, healthy adults was questioned in 1982 and 1992 about diet and 10 physical activities. Estimates were made of the mean effects of stable behaviors on 10-year change in body mass index and on odds ratios for gain at the waist. RESULTS: Ten-year changes in body mass index was associated positively with meat consumption and smoking cessation and inversely with vegetable consumption, vitamin E supplementation, continued smoking, and some vigorous activities (e.g., jogging/running). Women's body mass index decreased with walking 4 or more hours per week and with regular alcohol intake, but these behaviors had a smaller effect on men's body mass index. weight gain was inversely associated with high vegetable consumption, walking 4 or more hours per week, and jogging/running 1 to 3 hours per week but not with less demanding physical activities. CONCLUSIONS: Simple derivation of behaviors associated with weight loss or reduced abdominal obesity may enhance programs designed to prevent obesity and chronic diseases.

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