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Chronic Disease Risk Typologies among Young Adults in Community College

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Objectives: To address chronic disease risk holistically from a behavioral perspective, insights are needed to refine understanding of the covariance of key health behaviors. This study aims to identify distinct typologies of young adults based on 4 modifiable risk factors of chronic disease using a latent class analysis approach, and to describe patterns of class membership based on demographic characteristics, living arrangements, and weight. Methods: Overall, 441 young adults aged 18-35 attending community colleges in the Minnesota Twin Cities area completed a baseline questionnaire for the Choosing Healthy Options in College Environments and Settings study, a RCT. Behavioral items were used to create indicators for latent classes, and individuals were classified using maximum-probability assignment. Results: Three latent classes were identified: 'active, binge-drinkers with a healthy dietary intake' (13.1%); 'non-active, moderate-smokers and non-drinkers with poor dietary intake' (38.2%); 'moderately active, non-smokers and non-drinkers with moderately healthy dietary intake' (48.7%). Classes exhibited unique demographic and weight-related profiles. Conclusions: This study may contribute to the literature on health behaviors among young adults and provides evidence that there are weight and age differences among subgroups. Understanding how behaviors cluster is important for identifying groups for targeted interventions in community colleges.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IDEO, Design Researcher, San Francisco, CA 2: UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC

Publication date: 2018-03-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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