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The increasing odds of reporting fair or poor health status with each additional unhealthy behavior practiced serves as a call to action to reduce the prevalence of multiple unhealthy behaviors among adults and to help Americans get back on track to better health.
Focusing interventions on individuals practicing multiple unhealthy behaviors, who are at highest risk for fair or poor health status, likely will be key to improving the health status of the population. These individuals are 6.1 times more likely to report fair or poor health, and are disproportionately low income and low education—which suggests a need for holistic solutions tailored to these populations.
Interventions to curb unhealthy behaviors will also have an impact on health care costs. Health care costs are unevenly distributed in the United States. Research on health care costs and utilization shows that a small percentage of patients account for the majority of health care costs. [xi] Understanding this, some states and health care providers are implementing programs that provide this patient population with expanded access to primary care and clinical preventive services that help individuals take action to improve their health. [xii], [xiii]

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