CitationSkalamera, Julie & Hummer, Robert A. (2015). Educational attainment and the clustering of health-related behavior among U.S. young adults. Preventive Medicine. vol. 84 (1) pp. 83-89
AbstractWe documented health-related behavior clustering among US young adults and assessed the extent to which educational attainment was associated with the identified clusters. Using data from Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), we performed latent class analysis on 8 health-related behaviors (n = 14,338), documenting clustering of behavior separately by gender. Subsequently, we used multinomial logistic regression and estimated associations between educational attainment and the health-related behavior clusters. Twenty-eight percent of young women grouped into the most favorable health behavior cluster, while 22% grouped into a very high-risk cluster. A larger percentage of young men (40%) grouped into the highest risk cluster. Individuals with educational attainment at the college and advanced degree levels exhibited much lower risk of being in the unhealthy behavioral clusters than individuals with lower educational attainment, net of a range of confounders. Substantial fractions of US young adults, particularly those with less than college degrees, exhibit unhealthy behavior profiles. Efforts to improve health among young adults should focus particular attention on the clustering of poor health-related behavior, especially among individuals who have less than a college degree.
Keyword(s)Health-related behavior Behavior clusters Educational attainment
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePreventive Medicine
Hummer, Robert A.