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INTRODUCTION: We examined whether a healthy lifestyle was associated with cardiovascular risk factors in a cohort of young adults. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. METHOD: Data from the 2004-2006 Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study (age range 25-36 years) were used. A lifestyle score [0 (unhealthy) to 8 (healthy)] was derived from eight behaviours (normal body mass index, nonsmoking, low alcohol, salt, meat and regular fish consumption, leisure time physical activity and skim milk use). Using linear regression to adjust sociodemographic characteristics, we examined relationships between the lifestyle score and blood pressure (BP), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, glucose and an estimate of insulin resistance (IR). RESULTS: In men (n = 863), after adjustment, higher lifestyle scores were linearly associated with lower diastolic BP [regression coefficient (beta): -0.83; 95% confidence interval (CI): -1.23 to -0.43], LDL cholesterol (beta: -0.05; 95% CI: -0.09 to -0.007), HDL cholesterol (beta: 0.01; 95% CI: 0.001-0.003), insulin (beta: -0.50; 95% CI: -0.75 to -0.25) and IR (beta: -0.10; 95% CI: -0.16 to -0.04). In women (n = 941), after adjustment, healthy lifestyles were linearly associated with HDL cholesterol (beta: 0.02; 95% CI: 0.01 to 0.04) and glucose (beta: -0.02; 95% CI: -0.04 to -0.003). There were significant nonlinear associations of the lifestyle score with triglycerides in males and with diastolic BP, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and IR in females. CONCLUSION: Even in young adults, a healthy lifestyle is clearly associated with a better cardiovascular risk profile.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil

Publication Date





684 - 689


Adult, Age Factors, Alcohol Drinking, Australia, Biomarkers, Blood Glucose, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cross-Sectional Studies, Diet, Exercise, Female, Health Status Indicators, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Life Style, Linear Models, Lipids, Male, Odds Ratio, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Risk Reduction Behavior, Sex Factors, Smoking