Prevalence and co-occurrence of health risk behaviors among high-risk drinkers in a primary care population

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Adult; Age Distribution; Aged; Alcohol Drinking; Diet; Educational Status; Exercise; Female; *Health Behavior; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Humans; *Life Style; Male; Massachusetts; Middle Aged; *Primary Health Care; Questionnaires; *Risk-Taking; Smoking


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Women's Studies


BACKGROUND: Approximately 10% of patients seen in the primary care setting meet criteria for high-risk (HR) drinking. Little data are available about the co-occurrence of other risk behaviors (RBs) in this population. This study examines the co-occurrence of smoking, poor diet, and sedentariness, and several change-related variables, among 479 HR drinkers participating in Project Health, a NIAAA-funded study testing the effectiveness of a provider-delivered intervention to reduce HR drinking.

METHOD: Data were collected at study entry via standardized interview and questionnaire.

RESULTS: The prevalence of additional RBs among HR drinkers was smoking, 35%; poor diet, 28%; and sedentariness, 44%. In addition to HR drinking, 67% of participants had at least one RB, and 61% reported smoking, sedentariness, or both. Perception of drinking as a problem was generally low (20%), as was intention to change drinking. Seventy-two percent of participants with multiple RBs perceived at least one of these RBs as a problem. Younger, unmarried, less-educated, blue-collar, and non-working participants were more likely to have multiple RBs than white-collar workers.

CONCLUSION: Additional RBs are common among HR drinkers and may increase their already elevated health risks. Implications of these findings for interventions integrating multiple RBs into primary care settings are discussed.

DOI of Published Version



Prev Med. 2000 Aug;31(2 Pt 1):140-7. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Preventive medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID