Clusters of health behaviours and their relation to body mass index among adolescents in Northern Finland

Scand J Caring Sci. 2020 Sep;34(3):666-674. doi: 10.1111/scs.12769. Epub 2019 Oct 30.


Aims: To identify clusters of health behaviours among Finnish adolescents and examine whether these clusters are associated with body mass index (BMI).

Methods: The data, drawn from the prospective population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986, comprised a total of 7182 adolescents who replied to a follow-up postal questionnaire at the age 15 to 16. The adolescents were asked about multiple health behaviours, such as physical activity, screen time, cigarette smoking, alcohol use and diet. Adolescents who answered the questions concerning all of these variables were included in the study, yielding a final sample of 4305 subjects. K-means cluster analysis was performed to identify group of adolescents with similar health behaviours. Chi-squared tests were performed to analyse the association between the clusters and BMI.

Results: Two clusters - Healthy Lifestyle and Unhealthy Lifestyle - were identified for both genders. The values of all the studied variables differed significantly between the clusters identified for both boys and girls. No significant relationship between the identified clusters and BMI was found for either boys or girls.

Conclusions: It is important to consider multiple lifestyle-related behaviours and trying to identify groups that present probability for developing lifestyle diseases.

Keywords: BMI; adolescent; alcohol drinking; cluster analysis; diet; health behaviour; physical activity; screen time; smoking.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Healthy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Health Behavior*
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

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