Life-Styles, Health Status and Medical Care Utilization

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This study examines the relationship between three life-style variables (drinking, smoking, and physical activity) and three health status measures (physical, mental and general health status) and the use of medical care services. Up to seven years of utilization data were available for linkage with survey data on life-style variables of a random sample of 2,502 adults in an HMO. Relationships between life-style variables and health status measures were examined. Then each life-style variable was examined in relation to medical care utilization for eight disease classes in an ICDA-based disease classification system. A separate analysis is performed for males and females in four age categories. While relationships between the life-style variables and health status measures are not statistically significant for all sex/age groups, they are quite consistently in the expected direction, and life-style variables show some potentially interesting relationships to utilization for diseases with strong psychological or emotional components.

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