Influence of Lifestyle, Health Behavior, and Health Indices on the Health Status of Underserved Adults

Theresa A. Kessler, Valparaiso University
Elise M. Alverson, Valparaiso University


Purpose: To examine how lifestyle, health behavior, and health indices best predict health status in underserved adults.

Data sources: Eighty-four underserved adults from a nurse-managed center completed an investigator-developed instrument to measure lifestyle, health behavior, and health indices. The SF-12 Health Survey measured general (SF-1), physical (PCS), and mental (MCS) health status.

Conclusions: The majority of the sample was female (64%). Sixty-three percent were at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. For nonsmokers, five independent variables accounted for 47.1% of the variance in SF1 (p <.000), 33.5% in PCS-12 scores (p <.001), and 23.2% in MCS-12 scores (p =.017). For smokers, six variables accounted for 48.7% of the variance in SF1 (p =.024), 41.7% in PCS-12 scores (p =.067), and 25.4% in MCS-12 scores (p =.378).

Implications for practice: Findings provide partial support for the impact of lifestyle and health behaviors on health status outcomes. Focusing concurrent interventions on improving multiple behaviors may have the greatest impact on health status outcomes.