Risk factors for adult overweight and obesity in the Quebec Family Study: have we been barking up the wrong tree?

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Oct;17(10):1964-70. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.116. Epub 2009 Apr 9.


The aim of this study was to determine the independent contribution of previously reported risk factors for adult overweight and obesity. A cross-sectional (n=537) and a longitudinal (n=283; 6-year follow-up period) analysis was performed for nine risk factors for overweight and obesity assessed in adult participants (aged 18-64 years) of the Quebec Family Study (QFS). The main outcome measure was overweight/obesity, defined as a BMI>or=25 kg/m2. Using logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, sex, and socioeconomic status, short sleep duration, high disinhibition eating behavior, low dietary calcium intake, high susceptibility to hunger behavior, nonparticipation in high-intensity physical exercise, high dietary restraint behavior, nonconsumption of multivitamin and dietary supplements, high dietary lipid intake, and high alcohol intake were all significantly associated with overweight and obesity in the cross-sectional sample. The analysis of covariance adjusted for age, socioeconomic status, and all other risk factors revealed that only individuals characterized by short sleep duration, high disinhibition eating behavior, and low dietary calcium intake had significantly higher BMI compared to the reference category in both sexes. Over the 6-year follow-up period, short-duration sleepers, low calcium consumers, and those with a high disinhibition and restraint eating behavior score were significantly more likely to gain weight and develop obesity. These results show that excess body weight or weight gain results from a number of obesogenic behaviors that have received considerable attention over the past decade. They also indicate that the four factors, which have the best predictive potential of variations in BMI, be it in a cross-sectional or a longitudinal analytical design, do not have a "caloric value" per se.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Calcium, Dietary / metabolism
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Overweight / etiology*
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Young Adult


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Fats