Purpose: The purpose of this study is to provide a basic data that may help develop health promotion programs by identifying health problems and perceived health status of the rural elderly. Method: The subjects of the study were 366 elders recruited from 24 villages located in Mari Myun, Geochang Gun, Korea. The sample was selected using a quota sampling method. The instruments used in the study included 117 items for health problems and 4 items for perceived health status. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient, t-test, ANOVA and scheffe test using SPSS program. Results: 1) The most prevalent health problem was ailments in 'musculoskeletal system', followed by 'fatigue', 'eyes and ears', 'genitourinary system', 'mood & temper patterns', 'cardiovascular system', 'digestive system', 'nervous system', 'respiratory system' and 'skin'. 2) Womens health problems were more prevalent than men's health problems. 3) The mean score of perceived health status was 7.68. 4) Health problems of the rural elderly were significantly correlated with demographic variables such as education (F=9.532, p=0.000), gender (t=-4.246, p=0.000), marital status (t=-3.531, p=0.000), family type (F=5.742, p=0.00l), and occupation (t=3.356, p=0.001). 5) Perceived health status of the rural elderly was significantly correlated with demographic variables such as education (F=6.408, p=0.002), gender (t=2.949, p=0.003), marital status (t=0.802, p=0.034), family type (F=4.844, p=0.003), and occupation (t=-2.485, p=0.011). 6) Health problems of the rural elderly were significantly correlated with life style pattern variables such as drinking (F=5.223, p=0.006), smoking (F=4.087, p=0.007), salty food intake (F=3.424, p=0.034), greenish yellow vegetables intake (F=6.343, p=0.002) and fat food intake (F=5.327, p=0.005). 7) Perceived health status of the rural elderly was significantly correlated with life style pattern variables such as sleeping hours (F=3.966, p=0.020) and drinking (F=7.231. p=0.001). Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that nurses need to understand health problems and perceived health status of the rural elderly and to develop health promotion programs for them in the future in the consideration of regional and environmental elements.
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