Effects of life-style on body mass index change

Epidemiology. 1994 Nov;5(6):599-603. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199411000-00007.


The objective of this study was to determine the effects of age and life-style factors on body mass index (BMI) in a longitudinal, community-based sample. A total of 568 men and 668 women (20-60 years of age) were randomly chosen from four Northern California communities and followed for up to 7 years. Age, sex, marital status, smoking status, hours of television watched, frequency of consumption of several food items, and physical activity were used to predict rate of change of body mass index (BMI-slope). BMI increased the most for both sexes through at least age 54. The BMI-slope was higher for women compared with men, and for smokers who stopped compared with those who never smoked or continued to smoke during the study. The BMI-slopes were lower for individuals who increased activity. Other life-style variables had weak or inconsistent effects on the BMI-slope. We conclude that the BMI-slope increases over age for both sexes and that increased physical activity may reduce the BMI-slope.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style* / ethnology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking