Objectives: The purpose of this study was to identify behaviors associated with change in body mass index or with weight gain at the waist.
Methods: A cohort of 79236 White, non-Hispanic, healthy adults was questioned in 1982 and 1992 about diet and 10 physical activities. Estimates were made of the mean effects of stable behaviors on 10-year change in body mass index and on odds ratios for gain at the waist.
Results: Ten-year changes in body mass index was associated positively with meat consumption and smoking cessation and inversely with vegetable consumption, vitamin E supplementation, continued smoking, and some vigorous activities (e.g., jogging/running). Women's body mass index decreased with walking 4 or more hours per week and with regular alcohol intake, but these behaviors had a smaller effect on men's body mass index. weight gain was inversely associated with high vegetable consumption, walking 4 or more hours per week, and jogging/running 1 to 3 hours per week but not with less demanding physical activities.
Conclusions: Simple derivation of behaviors associated with weight loss or reduced abdominal obesity may enhance programs designed to prevent obesity and chronic diseases.