Main Article Content
Background Sedentary behavior and smoking prevalence in young adults, both prominent population health risks, are high value health promotion targets.
Methods Cross sectional design: Public-use data drawn from Wave 3 of the 2001-2002 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent and Adult Health (Add Health), representing 18-26 year-old young adults, n = 4203. This study examined the association of sedentary behavior and educational attainment with young adult smoking status (smoker versus nonsmoker), using logistic regression analysis. Sedentary behavior was approximated by self-reported hours spent weekly watching television. Follow-up analysis examined the association of nicotine dependence, measured by the Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI), and sedentary behavior in young adult smokers, using General Linear Modeling.
Results Comparing sedentary behavior quartiles (1 and 4, least and most), smoking prevalence was 30% lower in quartile 1 (OR=0.698 [CI=0.566-0.862] (p=0.001), and 19% lower in quartile 2 (OR=0.813 [CI=0.662-0.998] (p=0.048). Young adult smoking prevalence was increased among young adults with high school education or less compared to those having attended at least some college (OR=2.22 [CI=1.876-2.635], p=0.001). Follow-up General Linear Modeling showed no effect of sedentary behavior on the Heaviness of Smoking Index (HSI) among young adult smokers, p=0.065.
Conclusion Although sedentary behavior and lower educational attainment associate with greater young adult smoking prevalence, more sedentary young adult smokers are no more nicotine dependent. Potential benefits of incorporating measures to increased daily movement in into smoking cessation programs are discussed.