Author(s): Tassitano RM, Chica DAG, Dumith SC, Tenrio MCM
Objective: It was to investigate the cluster of four main risk behaviors (smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity and low consumption of fruits and vegetables) related to chronic diseases from Northeastern Brazil. Methods: Cross-sectional study with a representative sample (n = 600) of high school students from public schools in Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil. The cluster was evaluated by comparing the observed prevalence expected in all the possibilities of coupling between the behaviors. The logistic regression analysis was performed by grouping three or four behaviors, after adjusting for independent variables. Results: With the exception of smoking, other risk behaviors had prevalence rates above 20%. Only 0.3% (95%CI 0.1 - 1.3) of the students presented the four risk behaviors simultaneously, while 15.3% (95%CI 12.3 - 18.2) did not present anyone. Risk behaviors tended to cluster, particularly smoking and alcohol consumption, being more pronounced among boys, and physical inactivity and low consumption of fruits and vegetables among girls (p < 0.05). Regression analysis indicated that, among the independent variables, those students who do not have physical education classes were 2.1 times more likely to have three or more risk behaviors added. Conclusions: The results of this study allow us to establish the prevalence of risk behaviors in cluster, which may have important implications for health policies and practices. It is suggested that educational and health actions are tested in schools, and physical education classes can be an important context for intervention.