Foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) are known to contribute to overweight and obesity. In addition to overweight and obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity are known risk factors for non-communicable diseases, including several cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Secondary analysis of UK-representative cross-sectional survey data of 3293 adults aged 18+. Regression analyses were undertaken to understand the relationship between consumption of HFSS food and soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco and socio-demographics. Clustering analysis identified groupings of health risk factors.
Males, those aged 18–24 and those from the more deprived groups consumed ready meals and fast food most frequently. Most of the sample (77.3%) engaged in at least one health risk behaviour. Six clusters were identified in the clustering analysis. Older (65+) female respondents were more likely to be inactive. Smokers exhibiting additional risk behaviours were more likely to be of working age from more deprived groups, and men over 65 were more likely to consume harmful levels of alcohol with additional risk factors.
Policies and services in the UK tend to focus on changing behaviour to address individual risk factors. This study shows that policies and interventions need to address multiple risk factors.