Background. We examined individual demographics and socioeconomic status to learn how they were related to major health behavior (ie, exercise, smoking, and diet), and the sociodemographic predictors of healthy versus unhealthy behavior. Methods. The study was based on data collected through the 1994 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) of South Carolina. More than 2,000 South Carolina adults who lived in households with telephones were randomly selected and interviewed by telephone to obtain the data. Results. The current report confirms much of the literature on the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and health behavior. It also shows that controlling for sociodemographic influences, women, individuals with a college education, and the 18 to 24 and 65+ age groups were more likely to practice a cluster of healthy behaviors than men, individuals with less or no education, and the 25 to 44 age group. Race and marital status were not significantly associated with healthy behavior patterns. Conclusions. An important policy implication of the study is the need for targeted health promotion activities on the risk groups identified, namely men, individuals with little education, and the 25 to 44 age group.
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