BACKGROUND: It is very important in primary care to control health behaviors related to chronic debilitating diseases. The purpose of this study was to analyse the health behaviors affecting health status of rural inhabitants. METHODS: This study was carried out in rural areas of Pohang city by questionnaire for one week in April, 1997. Inquired health behaviors by questionnaire were smoking, drinking, weight, height, health concern, regularity of diet, health or cancer examination and exercise. RESULTS: The smoking rate was 58.7% in males. Initial smoking age in men was 21 years old, and was not different according to age groups. The proportion of drinker was 50.8% in males. Body mass index was not related to the average family income and education. Regularity of diet was not related to snack intake frequency and body mass index, but was related to overeating frequency. CONCLUSION: Improving the health status of the residents in rural area can be expected through efforts to promote interest in practicing appropriate health behavior.