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Am J Public Health. 1997 May;87(5):747-54.

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

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Department of Epidemiology and Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Ga 30329-4251, USA.



The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors associated with change in body mass index or with weight gain at the waist.


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.


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.


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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