Clustering of risk factors for chronic diseases among adolescents from Southern Brazil

Samuel C. Dumith, Ludmila C. Muniz, Rafael M. Tassitano, Pedro C. Hallal, Ana M.B. Menezes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the clustering of risk behaviors for chronic non-communicable diseases and their associated factors among adolescents from Southern Brazil. Methods: In 2008, a survey was conducted with 3990 adolescents aged 14-15. years (mean: 14.3; SD: 0.6) from the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study. Clustering was determined by comparing observed (O) and expected (E) prevalence of all possible combinations of the four risk factors investigated (smoking, alcohol intake, low fruit intake, and physical inactivity). We carried out Poisson regression to evaluate the effect of individual characteristics on the presence of at least three risk behaviors. Results: All risk factors tended to cluster together (O/E prevalence = 3.0), especially smoking and alcohol intake (odds ratio to present on behavior in the presence of other > 5.0). Approximately 15% of adolescents displayed three or more risk behaviors. Females (adjusted OR = 1.55), people 15. years and older (OR = 1.47), with black skin color (OR = 1.23), and of low socioeconomic level (OR = 1.29) were more likely to display three or more risk factors. Conclusion: These findings suggest that lifestyle-related risk factors tend to cluster among adolescents. Identifying subgroups at greater risk of simultaneously engaging in multiple risk behaviors may aid in the planning of preventive strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-396
Number of pages4
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Brazil
  • Chronic disease
  • Cluster analysis
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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