Stable behaviors associated with adults' 10-year change in body mass index and likelihood of gain at the waist

Am J Public Health. 1997 May;87(5):747-54. doi: 10.2105/ajph.87.5.747.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Odds Ratio
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Weight Gain*


  • Vitamin E