Journal of Adolescent Health 39 (2006) 435–442

Aggregation of Health Behaviors among Fourth Graders in Northern Taiwan

Lee-Lan Yen, Sc.D.a,*, Ching-Ju Chiu, M.S.a, Wen-Chi Wu, Ph.D.b, and Ling-Yen Pan, Ph.D.b

a Institute of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
b Division of Health Policy Research, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Purpose: To investigate the aggregation of health behaviors among fourth graders in northern Taiwan.
Methods: This study conducted an analysis of data collected from the 2001 Child and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-term Evolution (CABLE) project, which included a sample of 2075 fourth grade students. Factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to investigate the aggregation patterns.
Results: After factor analysis, we found that the 18 health behaviors could be grouped under five factors. These five factors were named: healthy behavior, rule-breaking behavior, substance use behavior, violent behavior, and pleasure-seeking behavior, according to the characteristics of the various health behaviors grouped under each of them. Each study subject was assigned points for each of these five factors and then cluster analysis was used to divide the subjects into four different clusters. The names of these clusters and the percentage of subjects within them were as follows: healthy group (43.47%), violent group (29.11%), pleasure-seeking group (22.55%), and rebellious group (4.87%).
Conclusions: A total of 56.53% of the study sample were grouped under unhealthy groups (violent group, pleasure-seeking group and rebellious group), which indicates that already more than half of the students had lifestyles that put their health at risk. It was suggested that health and educational organizations need to place importance on behavioral problems in children and adopt early prevention measures.c2006 Society for Adolscent Medicine. c 2006 Society for Adolescent Medicine. All rights reserved.

Key words: Children; Health behavior; Factor analysis; Cluster analysis; Lifestyle

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