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Psychol Rep. 2013 Dec;113(3):717-33.

Determinants of obesity: results from a longitudinal study of adolescents and adults living in an urban area.


This study examined the relation of cigarette smoking, psychological symptoms (e.g., depressive symptoms, anxiety), physical activity, and body mass index (BMI) separately by sex. The sample consisted of 815 African Americans and Puerto Ricans (324 males, 491 females). The participants were originally 14 years of age, and were followed to 32 years of age, and gave information on smoking, depressive symptoms, anxiety, physical activity, and BMI. Structural equation modeling showed that for males cigarette smoking in mid/late adolescence was related to cigarette smoking in emerging adulthood and early adulthood. Finally, cigarette smoking in early adulthood was negatively related to BMI in adulthood only for male participants. For female participants, cigarette smoking in adolescence was related to psychological symptoms (e.g., depressive symptoms, anxiety) in emerging adulthood and early adulthood. Psychological symptoms in early adulthood predicted less physical activity in adulthood, which in turn, was related to BMI. With one exception, all of the standardized coefficients were statistically significant. Implications for preventive interventions are discussed.

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