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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020214

Sex-Specific Associations in Nutrition and Activity-Related Risk Factors for Chronic Disease: Australian Evidence from Childhood to Emerging Adulthood

1
Metabolic and Vascular Physiology, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
2
Food and Mood Centre, Centre for Innovation in Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Treatment, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
3
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eating and Exercise in Children and Adolescents)
Full-Text   |   PDF [315 KB, uploaded 26 January 2018]

Abstract

Global assessments of burden of disease suggests there are sex differences in risk factors for chronic disease, including overweight/obesity, dietary patterns and habitual physical activity. Given that prevention efforts aim to target such factors to reduce disease risk, the age at which sex differences may occur is of particular interest. Early life to young adulthood is the optimal time for intervention, with lifestyle habits typically forming during this period. This study aimed to identify the sex differences in risk factors for chronic disease during childhood (5–9 years), adolescence (10–17 years) and emerging adulthood (18–25 years) in a large population-representative Australian sample. Among children in this study (n = 739), no sex-related differences were observed. Among adolescents (n = 1304), females were more likely than males to meet daily fruit and vegetable recommendations (12.9% vs. 7.5%; OR = 1.84, 95% CI = 1.16, 2.93, p < 0.05). Among emerging adults (n = 909), females were less likely to be overweight/obese (30.1% vs. 39.8%; OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.44, 0.95, p < 0.05) and more likely to meet physical activity recommendations (52.1% vs. 42.3%; OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.01, 2.06, p < 0.05). These findings suggest that sex differences for risk factors of chronic disease occur during adolescence and emerging adulthood, although the differences are not consistent across age periods. From adolescence onwards, it appears that females exhibit lower risk factors than males and a life span approach to risk factor monitoring is warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; diabetes; sex differences; lifestyle risk factors; nutrition; physical activity; obesity; early life cardiovascular disease; diabetes; sex differences; lifestyle risk factors; nutrition; physical activity; obesity; early life
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Hoare, E.; Dash, S.R.; Jennings, G.L.; Kingwell, B.A. Sex-Specific Associations in Nutrition and Activity-Related Risk Factors for Chronic Disease: Australian Evidence from Childhood to Emerging Adulthood. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 214.

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