PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to clarify the level of health literacy, health risk perception and health behavior of Korean elders and to determine the impact of their health literacy and health risk perception on their health behavior. METHODS: A descriptive correlation study was conducted with 188 elders aged 65 or older in senior welfare centers in Busan. Questionnaires were used to measure levels of health literacy, health risk perception, and health behavior. Descriptive statistics, t-test, ANOVA, Kruskal Wallis test, Pearson's correlation, and hierarchical regression were performed. RESULTS: 43.6% of the subjects had low levels of health literacy. There was a negative relation between health literacy and health risk perception, and between health risk perception and health behavior. There was a positive relation between health literacy and health behavior. Health concern, health literacy affected health behavior. Health literacy independently accounted for 24% of health behavior. Health risk perception didn't affect health behavior. CONCLUSION: Many of the Korean elders had low levels of health literacy and health literacy was independently associated with health behavior. These findings show that interventions for improving health literacy are necessary to enhance health behavior of the elderly.