Diet, physical activity, sedentary behaviour and perceptions of the environment in young adults

Amelia Lake, Tim Townshend, Seraphim Alvanides, Elaine Stamp, Ashley Adamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background Few studies have explored both food behaviour and physical activity in an environmental context. Most research in this area has focused on adults; the aim of the present study was to describe perceptions of the environment, diet, physical activity and sedentary behaviour patterns in 16–20 year olds in full-time education (Newcastle, UK). Methods Participants (n = 73) recruited from a college and sixth-form college completed a UK version of the Youth Neighbourhood Environment Walkability Survey, which included measures of sedentary behaviour. A validated food frequency questionnaire was completed and a factor applied to produce an estimated mean daily frequency of intake of each item, which was converted to nutrient intakes. A rank for Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) was assigned to their home postcode. Analysis explored associations between sedentary behaviours and nutrient intake. Results In this descriptive cross-sectional study, most participants reported being physically active for at least 1 h day−1 on 3–4 (n = 28) or 5–7 days (n = 31). There were no significant differences in nutrient intake according to sample quartile IMD position. Sedentary behaviours were significantly associated with less healthy eating patterns. Higher total energy (P = 0.02), higher fat (P = 0.005), percentage energy from fat (P = 0.035) and lower carbohydrate intakes (P = 0.004) were significantly associated with more time spent watching DVDs at the weekend. Conclusions This combination of sedentary behaviour and less healthy eating patterns has important implications for long-term health (e.g. the tracking of being overweight and obesity from adolescence into adulthood). Understanding behaviour relationships is an important step in developing interventions in this age group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-454
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


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