BACKGROUND: Advising lifestyle modification to patients suffering from hypertension is important. However, how strictly hypertensive patients in korea are adherent to non-pharmacologic recommendation has not been well known. This study was performed to determine the compliance of hypertensive patients to the recommendation for life style modification and to find out on factors related to compliance. METHODS: Ninety-six patients, diagnosed as hypertensives between November 1997 and April 1998 in the Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Medical Center were educated on lifestyle modifications by their physicians during routine outpatient consult questionnaires inquiring of demographic and clinical characteristics, and health habits were Self administered done before and after the education. Blood pressure, height, and weight were measured repeatedly. The relationships between various characteristics and the compliance with lifestyle modification and follow-up visits were evaluated using Chi-square test and multiple logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: Among 96 patients, 47 patients (49.0%) attended for regular check-up two months after being diagnosed as hypertension. Being prescribed with antihypertensive agent, non-smoking, and doing regular exercise were the significant factors related to higher compliance with regular check-up. A total of 19 patients (40.4%) among 47 patients who have attended for regular check-up were adherent to the recommendation for modification of one or more health habits. The proportion of patients doing regular exercise increased significantly after education. Although 15 patients(53.6%) among 28 patients whose body mass indices were over 25 kg/m2 reported that they had made efforts to reduce body weight, no significant differences were observed in the change of body mass index between patients who reported their efforts for reducing body weight and those who did not. There was no association between various characteristics and compliance with lifestyle modification. CONCLUSIONS: Low compliance with recommendation for lifestyle modification during routine outpatient consultation and no association between various clinical and demographic characteristics and patient compliance suggests the necessity of developing special program and its active application to all hypertensive patients.