Health behaviors of employed and insured adults in the United States, 2004-2005

Am J Health Promot. May-Jun 2010;24(5):315-23. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.080603-QUAN-77.


Purpose: To examine the prevalence of health behaviors, including clinical preventive services and lifestyle risk behaviors, among insured workers and to determine whether disparities in health behaviors based on demographic factors exist among this group.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of 2004-2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data.

Setting: United States.

Subjects: . A representative sample of noninstitutionalized employed and insured adults aged 18 to 64 years (139,738 in 2004 and 159,755 in 2005).

Measures: Self-reported clinical preventive services utilization and lifestyle-related behaviors, as well as multiple logistic regression analyses assessing the independent effects of demographic and access variables on health behaviors.

Results: Among insured workers, rates of not using recommended clinical preventive services ranged from 8.5% (cervical cancer screening) to 73.9% (influenza vaccination). Rates for engaging in lifestyle-related risks ranged from 5.5% (heavy drinking) to 77.1% (inadequate fruit-vegetable consumption). In multivariate analyses, lower income, lower education, cost as a barrier to health care, and no health care provider were associated with significantly decreased clinical preventive services utilization (p < .01). Lower education and no health care provider were associated with lifestyle-related risks (p < .01).

Conclusions: Working insured adults are not meeting recommendations for health behaviors. Significant disparities in health behaviors related to socioeconomic status exist among this group. Employers and insurers should consider these poor health behaviors and disparities when designing insurance benefits addressing clinical preventive services utilization and workplace health promotion programs addressing lifestyle-related behaviors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Education
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Insurance, Health*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits / economics
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Preventive Health Services / economics
  • Preventive Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States