Violence and obesogenic behavior among adolescents aged 12–15 years from 62 countries: A global perspective

Lee Smith, Louis Jacob, Igor Grabovac, Guillermo F. López-Sánchez, Lin Yang, Andre F. Carvalho, Jae Il Shin, Aric Sigman, Liye Zou, Ai Koyanagi

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to violence may be associated with increased risk for obesogenic behavior among adolescents but studies providing a global perspective are lacking. The aim of this work was to assess the relationship between violence and obesogenic behaviors among young adolescents from 62 countries. Cross-sectional data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey 2009–2016 were analyzed. Information on violence (intentional injury, physical attack, physical fight) and obesogenic behavior (anxiety-induced sleep problems, low physical activity, sedentary behavior, fast-food consumption, carbonated soft-drink consumption) were self-reported. Associations were analyzed using meta-analysis based on country-wise multivariable logistic regression analyses. A total of 165,380 adolescents aged 12–15 years [mean (SD) age 13.8 (1.0) years; 50.9% boys] were included in the analysis. All types of violence were positively associated with higher odds for all types of obesogenic behavior with the exception of low physical activity. Associations were particularly pronounced for anxiety-induced insomnia. In contrast, intentional injury (OR = 0.72; 95%CI = 0.64–0.81) and physical fight (OR = 0.90; 95%CI = 0.86–0.95) were associated with lower odds for low physical activity. In this large global sample of adolescents, exposure to violence was associated with all obesogenic behaviors apart from low physical activity. Multidimensional government programs and policies addressing exposure to violence among young adolescents may lead to reduction in obesogenic behavior and hence curtail the global obesity epidemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106123
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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