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BACKGROUND: Whether not meeting common guidelines for lifestyle behaviours is associated with weight gain is uncertain. This study examined whether 5-year weight gain was predicted by not meeting guidelines for: breakfast consumption (eating between 6 and 9 am), takeaway food consumption (<2 times/week), television viewing (<2 h/day) and daily steps (≥10,000 steps/day). METHODS: One thousand one hundred and fifty-five Australian participants (43% men, 26-36 years) completed questionnaires and wore a pedometer at baseline (2004-06) and follow-up (2009-11). Weight was measured or self-reported, with a correction factor applied. For each behaviour, participants were classified according to whether they met the guideline: consistently met at baseline and follow-up (reference group); not met at baseline but met at follow-up; met at baseline but not met at follow-up; consistently not met at baseline and follow-up. For each behaviour, weight gain was calculated using linear regression. Weight gain by number of guidelines met was also examined. RESULTS: Mean 5-year weight gain was 2.0 kg (SD:6.3). Compared to the reference group, additional weight (mean, 95% CI) was gained among those who did not meet the guideline at follow-up, or consistently did not meet the guideline, for breakfast (1.8 kg, 0.7-2.9; 1.5 kg, 0.1-2.8); takeaway food (2.2 kg, 0.7-3.6; 1.9 kg, 0.7-3.1); watching television (1.9 kg, 0.9-2.9; 1.4 kg, 0.4-2.3); and daily steps (2.6 kg, 1.1-4.04; 1.6 kg, 0.5-2.7). Those who met ≤1 guideline at follow-up gained 3.8 kg (95% CI 2.3-5.3) more than those meeting all guidelines. CONCLUSION: Individuals who adopted healthier behaviours between baseline and follow-up had similar weight gain to those who met the guidelines at both time points. Encouraging young adults to meet these simple guidelines may reduce weight gain.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Public Health

Publication Date





54 - 54


Fast food, Guidelines, Physical activity, Sedentary behaviour, Skipping breakfast, Steps, Takeaway food, Television, Weight gain, Young adults