Thursday, November 3, 2016

Lifestyle correlates of overweight in adults: a hierarchical approach

Obesity-related lifestyle behaviors usually co-exist but few studies have examined their simultaneous relation with body weight. In a study just published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity as part of the Sustainable prevention of obesity through integrated strategies (SPOTLIGHT) project, we aimed to identify the hierarchy of lifestyle-related behaviors associated with being overweight in adults, and to examine subgroups so identified.
Data were obtained from a cross-sectional survey conducted across 60 urban neighborhoods in 5 European urban regions between February and September 2014. Data on socio-demographics, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, eating habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, and sleep duration were collected by questionnaire. Participants also reported their weight and height. A recursive partitioning tree approach (CART) was applied to identify both main correlates of overweight and lifestyle subgroups.
Among the 5295 adults that participated, the mean body mass index was 25.2 kg/m2, and 46.0 % were overweight as indicated by a BMI ≥25 kg/m2. CART analysis showed that among all lifestyle-related behaviors examined, the first identified correlate was sitting time while watching television, followed by smoking status. Different combinations of lifestyle-related behaviors (prolonged daily television viewing, former smoking, short sleep, lower vegetable consumption, and lower physical activity) were associated with a higher likelihood of being overweight, revealing 10 subgroups. Members of four subgroups with overweight prevalence >50 % were mainly males, older adults, with lower education, and living in greener neighborhoods with low residential density.
Sedentary behavior while watching television was identified as the most important correlate of being overweight. Delineating the hierarchy of correlates provides a better understanding of lifestyle-related behavior combinations which may assist in targeting preventative strategies aimed at tackling obesity.