Purpose: There is little information on the associations with healthy behaviors and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) according to gender in the general population. This study aims to examine whether the effect of individual and combined healthy behaviors would be significantly associated with HRQOL in Korean men and women.
Methods: This study was conducted by analyzing 10,396 adults (4,412 men and 5,984 women) aged 19-64 years using data from the 7th 2016-2018 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Seven health behaviors were selected, current non-smoking, low-risk drinking, sufficient physical activity, non-sedentary behavior, sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables, not-drinking sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB), and sufficient sleep duration. HRQOL was evaluated using EuroQol-5Dimension (EQ-5D). The data was analyzed using multiple linear regression with complex sampling design after adjusting for age, gender, region, household income, education, employment, marital status, the number of comorbidities, and the other healthy behaviors.
Results: Of the total participants, 77.4% reported current non-smoking, 85.1% low-risk drinking, 50.4% sufficient physical activity, 54.1% non-sedentary behavior, 35.7% sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables, 42.2% not drinking SSB, and 56.5% sufficient sleep duration. Women had a significantly higher number of healthy behaviors than men, but significantly lower HRQOL levels. Current non-smoking (p=0.023) was significantly associated with HRQOL among all the participants. Sufficient physical activity (p=0.047) in men, non-sedentary behavior (p=0.012) and sufficient intake of fruits and vegetables (p=0.040) in women were significantly associated to HRQOL. As the number of healthy behaviors increased, the level of HRQOL increased (p=0.002); however, this significance appeared only in men.
Conclusion: Some individual healthy behaviors and combined healthy behaviors were significantly associated with HRQOL. However, these associations differed by gender. Community health nurses should make an effort for promoting healthy behaviors to increase the level of HRQOL in men. In particular, they needs to take some strategies for identifying influencing factors associated with HRQOL as well as promoting healthy behaviors in women.