Objective: To assess the relation between body mass index (BMI) levels and various lifestyle variables related to physical activity and specific characteristics of a healthy eating pattern, using baseline cross-sectional data from the Wellness IN the Rockies project.
Subjects: A total of 928 males and 889 females, aged 18-99 y, recruited from six rural communities in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.
Measurements: Using BMI as the criterion, overweight was defined as a BMI >or=25 kg/m(2) and obesity was defined as a BMI >or=30 kg/m(2). All participants in this study completed a questionnaire that elicited sociodemographic information, self-reported height and weight, and data related to specific dietary intakes, eating-related behaviors, and physical activity behaviors and perceptions.
Results: Prevalence of overweight was 70% in men and 59% in women. Increased likelihood of overweight or obesity was associated with greater frequency of the following: drinking sweetened beverages such as soft drinks/soda pop, ordering supersized portions, eating while doing other activities, and watching television. Other predictors were lower frequency of participation in physical activity and the perception of not getting as much exercise as needed.
Conclusions: The increased probability of having a high BMI in individuals who more often eat while doing another activity appears to be a novel finding that will need to be substantiated by additional research. The finding that the vast majority of overweight and obese respondents believed that they do not get as much exercise as needed strengthens the assertion that finding ways to increase participation in physical activity should remain a high priority in obesity prevention and intervention efforts at the community and individual levels.