Prevalence of Unhealthy Lifestyle Patterns among Overweight and Obese Adults

Robert F. Kushner*, Seung W. Choi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study determined the prevalence of unhealthy eating, exercise, and coping pattern traits among a large sample of overweight and obese adults. We analyzed responses to a 53-item lifestyle pattern questionnaire posted on a commercial weight loss program Web site collected from 2004 through 2008. Subjects included 446,608 healthy weight, overweight, and obese adults, 18-65 years old, average age 31.9 (s.d. = 11.8), average BMI 30.5 kg/m2 (s.d. = 7.5). Categorically, 25.5% were healthy weight, 29.0% were overweight, 33.7% were class I-II obesity, and 11.8% class III obesity. A stratified random sample was used to estimate the prevalence of the 21 lifestyle patterns (7 eating, 7 exercise, and 7 coping) in the general population, and the prevalence of patterns in the complete dataset was further analyzed by gender, age, and BMI. Finally, we analyzed the odds ratio of the pattern prevalence for each BMI category. We found that unhealthy lifestyle patterns in diet, exercise, and coping were highly prevalent among this population. In general, the prevalence of these patterns rose with increasing BMI and is correlated with advancing age. Gender differences were seen with many of the patterns, most noticeably among the coping patterns. The odds ratio for 18 of the 21 patterns was >1.0 and steadily increased with higher BMI categories. We conclude that unhealthy lifestyle patterns in diet, exercise, and coping are highly prevalent among the overweight and obese population. Pattern recognition represents a new method to analyze the cluster of behaviors, attitudes, and traits seen among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1160-1167
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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