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Prev Med. 2001 Dec;33(6):586-94.

Behavioral risk factors among members of a health maintenance organization.

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  • 1Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.



Co-occurrence of risk behaviors (RBs) substantially increases the risk of disease. This study examines the co-occurrence of four health risk behaviors (i.e., smoking, high-fat diet, sedentariness, and high-risk drinking) and demographic and psychosocial variables associated with number of RBs in a sample of members of a health maintenance organization who participated in the Seasonal Variation in Cholesterol (Seasons) study.


Seasons study baseline data were used. Subjects completed a self-administered questionnaire packet containing questions on demographics, smoking history, and leisure-time physical activity, a 7-day dietary recall instrument, and various psychosocial measures. Results presented here are based on 496 subjects with complete data on all RBs.


Forty-three percent of participants had > or = two RBs. The most prevalent RB combination was high-fat diet/sedentariness, with 30% of subjects reporting both RBs. Associations between RBs were observed. A greater number of RBs were observed among younger and less-educated subjects, those with higher depression scores, and subjects who perceived their health as poor.


Findings highlight the importance of designing and evaluating primary care-based screening programs and interventions for multiple RBs.

Copyright 2001 American Health Foundation and Elsevier Science.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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