To clarify the effects of lifestyle on care-seeking behavior, we conducted a questionnaire survey using Morimoto's 8 lifestyle factors and tabulated the medical evaluations at annual medical checkup of 1212 male white-collar employees of a company (aged 21-60 years in 1991), and then extracted the health insurance data for these subjects for the first half of 1992 from the health insurance-carrier computer system. The percentage of employees who visited medical facilities, the number of days of medical care, and the medical fees reported on the health insurance claims were chosen as indices of care-seeking behavior, and the relationship of each index to lifestyle and medical checkup data was examined. The health practice index (HPI), which was obtained by summing the scores for the 8 lifestyle factors was associated with the medical evaluation as expected, but was inversely correlated with the indices of care-seeking behavior. The percentage of employees who visited medical facilities, the number of the days of medical care, and the total medical fees were all higher for the subjects with high HPI scores than for those with low HPIs. Our findings are consistent with those of other researchers who have found an inverse relationship between tobacco smoking and health insurance claims, which has been attributed to the degree of conciousness of health. Compared to smokers, non-smokers have high consciousness of health and tend to consult a doctor more frequently, with resulting increased frequency of medical facility consultation and days of medical care, as well as medical fees. Lifestyle is an important aspect of physical and mental health status. The effects of lifestyle on various health care issues, including care-seeking behavior, as well as means of incorporating lifestyle effectively in health care, require further investigation.
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