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Prev Med. 1998 Jul-Aug;27(4):536-44.

Interrelationships between physical activity and other health behaviors among university women and men.

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Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, California 92120, USA.



The interrelationships among health behaviors are not well understood. The present study examines health behaviors and their relations to various types of physical activity among university seniors.


The study sample was an ethnically diverse group of 576 men and women (mean age 24.5 +/- 2 years) recruited from a large urban university. Physical activity was assessed with a modification of the Blair Seven-Day Recall by telephone interview, and health behaviors were assessed with the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, College Version. Hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted to determine whether health behaviors of men and women were associated with physical activity after adjusting for potential demographic confounders.


Nineteen health behavior items were factor analyzed, yielding 5 factors: tobacco use, drinking and driving, unsafe sex, eating fatty foods, and eating healthy foods. Physical activity measures included leisure-time moderate and vigorous activities, flexibility, and strengthening activities. For men, a significant relation was found between three of four indices of physical activity and eating healthy foods (P < 0.05), but no association was noted with other health behaviors. For women, vigorous physical activity was related to eating healthy foods, and strengthening activities were related to eating fewer fatty foods (P < 0.05).


Consistent with previous studies, physical activity was found to have modest associations with eating behaviors but not with other health-related behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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