Adolescents living in the City of San Bernardino, California, are susceptible to health risks due to high rates of violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, and poverty, which place them among the most vulnerable in the Nation to disability, early death, unhealthy offspring, illiteracy, economic disadvantage, and chronic disease. This study analyzed data from the Youth Risk Behavior (YRBS) and local surveys conducted in the City’s Unified School District from 1999 through 2001. The investigators focused on the relationship, if any, of dietary and anthropometric factors to the priority adolescent behaviors targeted for intervention by the Healthy People 2010 objectives: accidental injuries and deaths, violence, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behavior, nutrition, and physical activity (United States Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). The YRBS asks adolescents to state their height and weight, dieting history, physical activity indicators, and at the high school level current frequency of milk, fruit, and vegetable intake. Since 1990, YRBS surveys in other areas of the country have reported relationships among fruit and vegetable consumption, exercise patterns (Pate, Trost, Levin, & Dowda, 2000), risky health behaviors (Neumark Sztainer, D., Story, Dixon, & Murray, 1998) and demographic characteristics (Lytle, Seifert, Greenstein, & Mcgovem, 2000); (Pate, Heath, Dowda, & Trost, 1996). YRBS trend data also document the rise in obesity prevalence among adolescents. Within the framework of lessor’s Problem Behavior Theory correlational, variance, data reduction, and regression analyses were applied to identify personal and environmental factors that interact with protective and risky health behaviors of San Bernardino adolescents.

These secondary analyses yielded new information in several areas of adolescent behavior related to the obesity problem: the strengths and weaknesses of racial/ethnic styles of coping with overweight, a rise in the awareness of boys related to body overweight and dieting, progress towards Healthy People 2010 goals, the influence of faith/religion, and the special needs of summer school students. One relevant desire of youth in San Bernardino, expressed through the local questionnaire, was for more after school activities.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Susanne Montgomery

Second Advisor

Patti Herring

Third Advisor

Ella Haddad

Fourth Advisor

Mark Ghamsary

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Obesity -- adolescent; Feeding Behavior; Adolescent Behavior; Adolescent Nutrition Physiology; Health Behavior; Risk-Taking.



Page Count

xv; 249

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives