Few studies have investigated the prevalence and correlates of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases among Brazilian adolescents. We evaluated the clustering of risk factors and their associations with sociodemographic variables.
We used a cross-sectional study carried out in 2011 comprising 1132 students aged 14–19 years from Santa Maria, Brazil. The cluster index was created as the sum of the risk factors. For the correlates analysis, a multinomial logistic regression was used. Furthermore, the observed/expected ratio was calculated.
Prevalence of individual risk factors studied was as follows: 85.8% unhealthy diets, 53.5% physical inactivity, 31.3% elevated blood pressure, 23.9% overweight, 22.3% excessive drinking alcohol, and 8.6% smoking. Only 2.8% of the adolescents did not present any risk factor, while 21.7%, 40.9%, 23.1%, and 11.5% presented 1, 2, 3, and 4 or more risk factors, respectively. The most prevalent combination was between unhealthy diets and physical inactivity (observed/expected ratio =1.32; 95% CI: 1.16–1.49). Clustering of risk factors was directly associated with age and inversely associated with socioeconomic status.
Clustering of risk factors for noncommunicable diseases is high in Brazilian adolescents. Preventive strategies are more likely to be successful if focusing on multiple risk factors, instead of a single one.