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Vital Health Stat 10. 2006 Sep;(230):1-140.

Health behaviors of adults: United States, 2002-04.

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  • 1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.



This report presents selected prevalence estimates of alcohol use, cigarette smoking, leisure-time physical activity, body weight status, and sleep habits among U.S. adults, using data from the 2002-04 National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS). NHIS is conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Estimates are shown for several sociodemographic subgroups for both sexes combined and for men and women separately. The subgroups are compared in terms of their prevalence of "healthy" and "unhealthy" behaviors.


Data for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population were collected by NHIS using computer-assisted personal interviews. Questions on health behaviors were asked of one randomly selected adult per family in the Sample Adult component of the basic core questionnaire. This report is based on a total of 93,222 completed interviews with sample adults aged 18 years and over, representing an overall sample adult response rate of 73.6% for the 3 years combined. Statistics shown in this report were age adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population.


Six in 10 U.S. adults were current drinkers in 2002-04; about 1 in 4 adults were lifetime abstainers. About 1 in 5 adults (21.5%) were current smokers, and over one-half of adults (56.6%) had never smoked cigarettes. About 4 in 10 (42.4%) current smokers tried to quit smoking in the past year. About 6 in 10 adults engaged in at least some leisure-time physical activity, with about 3 in 10 regularly engaging in such activities. About 6 in 10 adults were overweight or obese (BMI is equal to or more than 25), with 4 in 10 adults being of healthy weight. About 6 in 10 adults usually slept 7-8 hours in a 24-hour period.

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