3 july 2023

Trends in Self-Reported Adherence to Healthy Lifestyle Behaviors Among US Adults, 1999 to March 2020

IMPORTANCE: Adherence to a healthy lifestyle is associated with lower risks of adverse outcomes. However, trends in multiple lifestyle factors and overall healthy lifestyle status among US adults in recent years are unknown.

OBJECTIVE: To examine trends in multiple lifestyle factors and overall healthy lifestyle among US adults.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This serial cross-sectional study used nationally representative data from 10 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles (nine 2-year cycles from 1999 to 2016 and 1 combined cycle from 2017 to March 2020) among adults 20 years or older. Data were analyzed from December 10, 2021, to January 11, 2023.

EXPOSURE: Survey cycle.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Five healthy lifestyle factors: never smoking, moderate or lighter alcohol consumption (for women: </=7 drinks/wk; for men: </=14 drinks/wk), healthy diet (Healthy Eating Index-2015 scores >/=60.0), sufficient physical activity (>/=150 min/wk of equivalent moderate physical activity), and healthy weight (body mass index [calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared] 18.5-24.9).

RESULTS: A total of 47 852 adults were included in this study. The weighted mean [SE] age was 47.3 [0.2] years; 24 539 (weighted proportion, 51.5%) were women. From the 1999-2000 cycle to the 2017 to March 2020 cycle, the estimated prevalence of the 5 lifestyle factors showed divergent trends, with increasing prevalence of never smoking (from 49.4% [95% CI, 46.4%-52.4%] to 57.7% [95% CI, 55.5%-59.9%]; difference, 8.2% [95% CI, 4.5%-12.0%]), healthy diet (from 19.3% [95% CI, 16.0%-22.6%] to 24.5% [95% CI, 21.5%-27.5%]; difference, 5.2% [95% CI, 0.8%-9.7%]), and sufficient physical activity (from 55.7% [95% CI, 51.8%-59.6%] to 69.1% [95% CI, 67.2%-71.1%]; difference, 13.4% [95% CI, 9.0%-17.8%]), while prevalence of healthy weight decreased from 33.1% (95% CI, 30.5%-35.6%) to 24.6% (95% CI, 22.6%-26.7%; difference, -8.4% [95% CI, -11.8% to -5.1%]) (all P < .001 for trend). Meanwhile, there was no significant trend in moderate or lighter alcohol consumption.

Overall, the estimated prevalence of at least 4 healthy lifestyle factors increased from 15.7% (95% CI, 12.8%-18.7%) to 20.3% (95% CI, 17.8%-22.7%; difference, 4.5% [95% CI, 0.7%-8.4%]; P < .001 for trend). Disparities in healthy lifestyle were widened by age group, with little improvement among adults 65 years and older (difference, 0.04% [95% CI, -4.28% to 4.35%]). There were persistent disparities in healthy lifestyle by race and ethnicity, educational level, and income level.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The findings of this cross-sectional study of NHANES data over a 22-year period suggest diverse change patterns across 5 healthy lifestyle factors and a modest improvement in overall lifestyle existed among US adults, with worsening or persistent disparities in lifestyle.

Additional Info

  • Authors

    Li Y.; Xia P. F.; Geng T. T.; Tu Z. Z.; Zhang Y. B.; Yu H. C.; Zhang J. J.; Guo K.; Yang K.; Liu G.; Shan Z.; Pan A.
  • Issue

    Periodical: JAMA Netw Open - Volume: 6 - Number: 7 - Edition: 20230703
  • Published Date

    3 july 2023