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Risk Factors for Obesity in Children and Adults
  1. Divya Siddarth
  1. From the Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, CA.
  1. Received April 1, 2013, and in revised form May 2, 2013.
  2. Accepted for publication May 8, 2013.
  3. Reprints: Divya Siddarth, Harvard-Westlake School, Studio City, 17124 Oak View Dr, Encino, CA 91316. E-mail: dsiddarth1{at}


Objectives The purpose of this study was to determine whether modifiable lifestyle factors such as eating habits, physical activity, and screen-viewing time, as well as ethnicity, sex, and family income level, were associated with obesity in children and adults and whether the associations differed across age groups.

Participants The data were drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–2010.

Results Multivariable logistic regression analyses were used, with obesity (defined as a body mass index of >30 kg/m2 for adults and ≥95th percentile for children of the same age and sex) as the outcome variable. For children, screen-viewing (TV/computer) time was the only significant factor; in contrast, for adolescents, eating habits were the only significant predictor. For young and middle-aged adults, lack of physical exercise and time spent in sedentary activities were the determinants of obesity, whereas for older adults, both eating habits and physical activity measures were related to obesity.

Conclusions Distinct lifestyle factors have significant associations with obesity in different age groups, and this study underscores the need for age-specific intervention programs to address the obesity epidemic.

Key Words
  • Obesity
  • modifiable risk factor
  • screen viewing time
  • physical activity
  • dietary habits

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