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Health practices among adults : United States, 1977

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    A study of the relationship between personal health practices and health consequences was conducted in A1ameda County, California, in 1965 by the Human Population Laboratory of the California State Department of Public Health. Findings indicated a positive relation-ship between good health practices and physical health status. A 9-year followup study, examining mortality rates among the original sample of 6,928 adults, showed a strong inverse relationship between the total number of good health practices reported in 1965 and age-specific mortality rates.z Seven good health practices were identified in this study: (1) sleeping an average of 7-8 hours a night; (2) eating break-fast almost every day; (3) seldom, if ever, eating snacks; (4) controlling one’s weight (weighing within 5 percent under and 19.9 percent over the desirable standard weight, if male, or weighing not more than 9.9 percent over the desirable standard weight, if female); (5) exercising: engaging in active sports, swimming, taking long walks, gardening, or doing physical exercises; (6) limiting alcohol consumption to less than five drinks at one sitting; and (7) never having smoked cigarettes. Persons reporting six or seven of these health practices were shown to have better health status and to live longer than persons reporting less than four of them. In 1977 the National Health Interview Survey included a supplement designed to obtain data on the prevalence of seven preventive heakh practices among the noninstitutionalized U.S. population aged 20 years and over. The questions on health practices, modified somewhat from those of the Alameda County study, included (1) average number of hours of sleep per night; (2) frequency of eating breakfast; (3) frequency of eating snacks; (4) physical activity level relative to one’s peers; (5) frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption; (6) smoking status (never smoked, former smoker, or current smoker) and amount smoked; and (7) body weight as compared with desirable body weight (weight for height). This report presents data on persons 20 years of age and over for these seven practices, by sex, race or ethnicity, age, income, and education. ad064acc.pdf
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