Temporal and regional trends in the prevalence of healthy lifestyle characteristics: United States, 1994-2007

Am J Public Health. 2012 Jul;102(7):1392-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300326. Epub 2012 May 21.


Objectives: We examined temporal and regional trends in the prevalence of health lifestyles in the United States.

Methods: We used 1994 to 2007 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to assess 4 healthy lifestyle characteristics: having a healthy weight, not smoking, consuming fruits and vegetables, and engaging in physical activity. The concurrent presence of all 4 characteristics was defined as a healthy overall lifestyle. We used logistic regression to assess temporal and regional trends.

Results: The percentages of individuals who did not smoke (4% increase) and had a healthy weight (10% decrease) showed the strongest temporal changes from 1994 to 2007. There was little change in fruit and vegetable consumption or physical activity. The prevalence of healthy lifestyles increased minimally over time and varied modestly across regions; in 2007, percentages were higher in the Northeast (6%) and West (6%) than in the South (4%) and Midwest (4%).

Conclusions: Because of the large increases in overweight and the declines in smoking, there was little net change in the prevalence of healthy lifestyles. Despite regional differences, the prevalence of healthy lifestyles across the United States remains very low.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Diet / trends
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Motor Activity
  • New England / epidemiology
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pacific States / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult