1. Section Editor(s): Anderson, Pamela
  2. Milner, John

Article Content

Despite clear evidence of the health benefits, few US adults conform to 4 common healthy behaviors that together characterize a healthy lifestyle, according to the April 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.


Researchers analyzed data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, annual statewide random-dialed telephone surveys, to determine the prevalence of 4 healthy lifestyle characteristics (HLCs): nonsmoking; healthy weight; consuming 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day; and regular physical activity. They combined these 4 characteristics to generate a single indicator for a healthy lifestyle, scored by the number of HLCs followed. A healthy lifestyle would be defined as following all four. Only 3% of US adults maintain a healthy lifestyle with all 4 HLCs. Seventy-six percent are nonsmoking. People were less likely to smoke if they were older, had more education, higher incomes, and were in general better health. The 40.1% maintaining a healthy weight were likely to be younger, better educated, and also in general better health. Only 23% of people reported consuming 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day and only 22% reported undertaking regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 times a week).


Source: Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:854-857.