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Which "Healthstyle" Are You?

Approximately nine out of 10 Americans fall into one of seven "healthstyle" categories, based on their perceptions of health and wellness.

The "healthstyles" were defined through a study by Washington, D.C.-based Porter/Novelli, which examined which values influence how an individual perceives health and wellness. The study surveyed 3,000 adults, ages 18 to 65.

Researchers used five core health behaviors and related beliefs to create the profiles for the different health personalities. They based these on topics that are frequent subjects of public education campaigns and those that figure into America's health agenda. The core health behaviors are:

Diet and nutrition;


Weight control;

Smoking; and

Alcohol consumption.

"These profiles provide valuable insight into the psychological make-up and routines of audience segments that have not, until now, been well-identified," said Edward Maibach, Ph.D., senior vice president and the study's primary author.

The seven "healthstyles" are:

Decent Dolittles. Decent Dolittles, who make up approximately 25 percent of the population, are one of the less healthy groups. They are unlikely to smoke or drink but are also unlikely to exercise or eat nutritiously. Dolittles know what they should be doing and many responded that they would like to be on the right track, they just lack the confidence needed to do so. They are most likely to be middle-aged women.

Active Attractives. Active Attractives, the youngest defined group, tend to eat nutritiously, are unlikely to smoke, and exercise pretty regularly in an effort to control their weight but, despite their actions, tend to be heavier than members of other groups. They like to party and alcohol consumption plays a big role in their socializing. This may account for their weight. They are more likely to be men.

Hard-Living Hedonists. Hard-Living Hedonists are one of the least health-oriented groups. They make up only 6 percent of the population and 82 percent are under age 55. They like to live hard with the goal of having a good time. This group smokes and drinks heavily and tends not to see smoking as detrimental to their health. While they will acknowledge that drinking may be harmful to them, they have no intention of altering their habit. Hard-Living Hedonists also have little interest in eating a low-fat diet. Surprisingly, this group does not tend to be overweight, probably because they tend to be physically active due to work activities. They tend to be in their early or middle adult years.

Tense but Trying. This 10 percent of the population is interested in wellness and shares many qualities with some other groups but they tend to smoke. This creates a tension between being health-oriented and being a smoker. The study concludes that many may be interested in wellness in an effort to make up for their smoking habit. The Tense but Trying seem to do their best to stay healthy, outside of their smoking. They exercise, limit the fat in their diets and try to control their weight. This group, which tends to be made up of middle-age women, is the most anxious and exhibits the highest rate of ulcers, uses more sedatives and are more likely to consult a mental health counselor than the other six groups.

Non-Interested Nihilists. As the name might suggest, this 7 percent of the population is the least health-oriented of all the groups. They don't embrace the idea that people should take steps to improve their health and consistently do not participate in health promoting behaviors. They eat fatty foods, smoke heavily and have a dislike of exercise. They do not try to control their weight. This group is also unlikely to wear seatbelts. Nihilists have the highest number of sick days and use the most painkillers and sedatives. They do not tend to visit doctors but have the highest rate of visits to a mental health professional. Non-Interested Nihilists are most likely to be men in their early to mid-adult years.

Physical Fantastics. Physical Fantastics are the group most concerned with wellness. This 25 percent of the population accept that smoking, drinking, fatty diets and sedentary lifestyles can cause health risks. Their lifestyles reflect this and they limit their smoking and drinking. They eat nutritionally, exercise regularly and try to control their weight. This group tends to be middle-aged to older and to suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes. The study suggests that it was their illness that brought many in this group to become more wellness-minded. Younger members of this group tend to be in excellent health. Physical Fantastics are most likely to comply with the suggestions of their doctors. They are most likely to be female.

Passively Healthy. This group is currently very healthy. They are young and do not practice unhealthful habits and they do tend to exercise. They are the trimmest of all the groups. However, the passively health tend to be ambivalent about their health. The Passively Healthy are less likely to find good health and physical fitness important and don't put much effort into their good habits. This 15 percent of the population tends to be male.

Address: Porter/Novelli, 1120 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036-3902; (202) 973-5800, fax (202) 973-5858.

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing

© 2000Health Resources Publishing