Purpose: To investigate whether fast food consumption and breakfast skipping are associated with weight gain during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Methods: A prospective study of 9919 adolescents participating in Waves II (age range 11-21 years) and III (age range 18-27 years) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. BMI z scores (zBMI) were computed using the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts. Multivariate regression models assessed the relationship between Wave II fast food and breakfast consumption and change in fast food and breakfast consumption between Waves II and III and weight gain during the transition to adulthood. Results: Marked increases in fast food consumption and decreases in breakfast consumption occurred over the 5-year interval. Greater days of fast food consumption at Wave II predicted increased zBMI at Wave III. Fewer days of breakfast consumption at Wave II and decreases in breakfast consumption between Waves II and III predicted increased zBMI at Wave III. Conclusions: Fast food consumption and breakfast skipping increased during the transition to adulthood, and both dietary behaviors are associated with increased weight gain from adolescence to adulthood. These behaviors may be appropriate targets for intervention during this important transition. © 2006 Society for Adolescent Medicine.
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