The relationships between eating habits, smoking and alcohol consumption, and body mass index among baby boomers
The study was to examine the eating habits of baby boomers and to investigate the relationship of these and other lifestyle habits on their reported body mass indices (BMI). A questionnaire was administered by mail to a random sample of people aged 40 years and above, drawn from the Electoral Rolls in Victoria, Australia. Part of the questionnaire contained questions about the respondents’ eating habits, smoking status and alcohol use, as well as self reported heights and weights and demographic characteristics. Eight hundred and forty-four people (out of 1470) returned usable questionnaires. Statistically significant differences were found between the eating habits of men and women. Generally, more women snacked on high energy dense foods (e.g., confectionery). More men took larger mouthfuls than women. The eating habits of women appeared to be more formal than men’s. Four constructs named: unconstrained eating, traditional eating style, gulping, and chocolate and junk food were derived from the eating behaviour literature. Structural equation modelling showed that eating behaviour was associated with BMI along with current smoking, ex-smoking status, alcohol consumption, and demographics. Eating habits and other lifestyle behaviours appear to be associated with BMI though in different pathways for men and women.