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Association between allostatic load and health behaviours: a latent class approach
  1. Sarah N Forrester1,
  2. Jeannie-Marie Leoutsakos2,
  3. Joseph J Gallo3,
  4. Roland J Thorpe Jr4,
  5. Teresa E Seeman5
  1. 1Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  3. 3Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  4. 4Health Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  5. 5Los Angeles Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah N Forrester, Quantitative Health Sciences Department, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Worcester, MA 01605, USA; sarah.forrester{at}


Background Allostatic load (AL) has been characterised in many ways throughout the literature; however, its relationship to health behaviours has only been studied in limited populations. We aimed to uncover qualitative patterns of biological indicators in AL and determine if those patterns were associated with certain health behaviours.

Methods We conducted latent class analysis using biological indicators from a multiethnic population. We fit latent class regression of class on health behaviours (smoking, poor diet, physical activity and alcohol use) to measure the association between each latent class of AL and each health behaviour.

Results Four classes, ‘Metabolic+Cholesterol, ‘Blood Pressure’, ‘Metabolic+Blood Pressure’ and ‘Low’, were found in the sample. Latent class regression showed that physical activity and alcohol use were significantly associated with the ‘Metabolic+Blood Pressure’ class.

Conclusion Less physical activity was required to improve AL than was previously found. Low to moderate alcohol use was beneficial for lower AL. Implications of the amount of physical activity necessary to lower AL is discussed.

  • blood pressure
  • clusters
  • diet
  • exercise
  • health behaviour

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  • Funding This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (grant number 5TL1TR001454-03).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.