Lifestyle Patterns and Weight Status in Spanish Adults

In Spain, recent data report that more than half of adults aged 18–64 years are classified as overweight or obese. This is particularly worrying for the negative impact of this condition on health and quality of life. The role of diet in obesity is complex and most research in this area has focused only on the study of specific foods and nutrients. Nevertheless, the analysis of food patterns is particularly interesting, since foods are usually consumed in combinations and those may have synergistic, antagonistic, or moderating effects.

It is acknowledged that joint interactions of multiple variables acting at different levels influence weight gain, such as lifestyles sleep, including rhythm, duration or quality of sleep, eating behaviors, socioeconomic level, education, and other factors.

Research of dietary patterns and the potential combination of those with other lifestyles can contribute to identifying effective strategies for the prevention of overweight and obesity among adults, as well as the improvement of its negative social and health consequences.

Considering the above, the objectives of this paper are to identify food patterns in the Spanish adult population, to investigate if energy balance-related behaviors tend to assemble into meaningful patterns in Spanish adults, to describe existing relationships between socio-demographical factors and different lifestyle patterns and to analyze the potential association of those correlates with excess body weight.

After this data analysis, four major factors were extracted: “Traditional” Dietary Pattern, “Mediterranean” Dietary Pattern, “Snack” Dietary Pattern and “Dairy-sweet” Dietary Pattern.

Based on the four identified dietary patterns, as well as minutes per week spent on vigorous physical activity, moderate physical activity, walking, biking, time spent on activities considered as sedentary time, sleep duration on weekdays and smoking habits, three lifestyle patterns were identified:

  • “Mixed diet - physically active - low sedentary lifestyle” Pattern
  • “Not poor diet - low physical activity - low sedentary lifestyle” Pattern
  • “Poor diet - low physical activity - sedentary lifestyle” Pattern

The findings in this study underline the importance of designing and implementing interventions that address multiple health risk habits, considering lifestyle patterns, clustering of risk behaviours and associated determinants.

Learn more about the study Lifestyle Patterns and Weight Status in Spanish Adults: the ANIBES Study