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Am J Prev Med. 1992 Nov-Dec;8(6):351-9.

Patterns of interrelations among health-promotion behaviors.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.


We examined the interrelationships among 36 health behaviors for men and 38 for women in a telephone survey of a national sample of 3,025 adults. Wide variations existed in the frequency of respondents engaging in healthy practices, ranging from 9% to 96%. Men practiced an average of 17, and women 19, healthy behaviors. Correlations between health behaviors were weak, with an absolute value averaging r = .07, ranging from r = .00 to r = .71. Factor analysis revealed 10 underlying dimensions among the behaviors, which we interpreted for men as: (1) health care use, (2) exercise and recreation activity, (3) alcohol use, (4) smoking, (5) physical activity, (6) dental care, (7) nutrition, (8) sleep, (9) beverage use, and (10) breakfast. Women had the same 10 factors as men, except for a women's health screening factor instead of a beverage use factor. These findings suggest that engaging in one health behavior is not necessarily associated with practicing others, and that public health and individual counseling efforts to encourage healthy behaviors should be multifaceted and behavior-specific.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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