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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

CUNY Faculty Studies Longitudinal Associations between Body Mass Index, Physical Activity and Healthy Dietary Behaviors in Adults

Dr. Ghada Soliman, professor at the CUNY School of Public Health and colleagues examined the longitudinal associations between changes in physical activity, healthy dietary behaviors, and body mass index among adults. The findings were published in the journal PLoS One.

[Photo: Dr. Ghana Soliman]

The research team used prospective cohort data implementing a workplace health screening program. The team analyzed data from a total of 2,579 adults who provided valid body mass index, physical activity, and healthy dietary behaviors information for at least 5 out of 7 follow-up years from the time they entered the program. Physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors were subjectively measured during an annual online health survey. Height and weight measured during an annual onsite health screening were used to calculate body mass index (kg·m2). The parallel latent growth curve modeling stratified by gender and baseline weight status (normal: body mass index <25, overweight body mass index 25-29.9, and obese: body mass index >30) were fitted to examine the longitudinal associations of changes in physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors with change in body mass index over years.

On average, body mass index gradually increased over years, at rates ranging from 0.06 to 0.20 kg·m2·year, with larger increases observed among those of normal baseline weight status across genders. The increases in physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors were independently associated with a smaller increase in body mass index for obese males, and overweight females and obese females. However, no significant associations of baseline physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors with changes in body mass index were observed.

This results of this study suggest that gradual increases in physical activity and healthy dietary behaviors are independently associated with smaller increases in body mass index in overweight and obese adults, but not in normal weight individuals.