Married people and those who cohabitate are apparently healthier overall than their single, divorced and widowed counterparts, government researchers reported Tuesday.

Charlotte Schoenborn of the National Center for Health Statistics said a 1987 survey of 122,859 people in 47,240 families nationwide found married people had fewer health problems than unmarried people."The data demonstrate that in spite of the recent changes in American marital patterns there was still a clear association between being well and being married," Schoenborn and her colleagues wrote in a paper delivered at a meeting of the American Public Health Association.

Of the married men, 15.1 percent reported some limitation in their activities due to disease or impairment, compared to 20.1 percent of single men, 19.7 percent of divorced men and 18.8 percent of widowed men.

Similarly, 14.2 percent of married women reported some limitation compared to 20.2 pecent of single women, 20.8 percent of divorced and 27.8 percent of widowed women.

When the respondents were asked to rate their health, only 11.3 percent of the married men rated their health as fair or poor compared to 14.1 percent of the single men, 15.6 pecent of the divorced men and 17.6 percent of widowers.

Among women, only 12 percent of those who were married rated their health that way compared to 13.4 percent of single women, 18.3 percent of divorced women and 18.9 percent of widows.