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Patient Educ Couns. 2006 Jul;62(1):79-88. Epub 2006 Jan 23.

A health assessment tool for multiple risk factors for obesity: results from a pilot study with UK adults.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA, UK. j.a.chambers@stir.ac.uk



Although many individual health behaviours have been implicated in the current rise in obesity levels, their confounding or cumulative effects have yet to be established. This study piloted a measure of multiple risk factors for obesity, designed to assess their relative importance at individual and population levels.


A 100-item, user-friendly, self-report questionnaire, was completed by 80 adult volunteers (67% female, age range 19-73 years), and related to Body Mass Index (BMI).


Dietary factors significantly related to BMI were higher amount of food consumption and more non-hunger related eating. BMI was strongly related to both negative attitudes/emotions towards and negative social influences on physical activity/exercise. Higher BMI was also related to less participation in physical activity/exercise, more sedentary leisure pursuits (e.g. TV watching) and lower general activity levels (e.g. more car usage). A regression analysis of all risk factors explained around 56% of the variance in BMI.


The pilot measure was able to differentiate between weight groups on a number of risk factors. The strong associations found between BMI and attitudes, emotions and social influences on eating and activity behaviours may help explain why many diet and exercise regimes are unsuccessful.


Results demonstrate that an easy-to-complete, self-report tool of multiple risk factors for obesity has potential as a health assessment tool for use by health professionals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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