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Health Educ Behav. 2010 Aug;37(4):490-503. Epub 2007 May 3.

What does the public know about preventing cancer? Results from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS).

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  • 1Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


This study provides information about the public's familiarity with cancer prevention strategies and examines the association between this familiarity and actual prevention behavior. Data from interviews with 5,589 adults included in the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) were analyzed. Most respondents were able to cite one or two strategies for reducing the chances of cancer. On average, the fewest number of strategies were cited by Hispanics, respondents aged 65 years or older, and those with the lowest levels of education and income. Avoiding tobacco and eating a healthy diet were most commonly cited. People who cited the following strategies for preventing cancer were more likely to practice them: eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, not smoking, and participating in cancer screening. Results indicate that efforts are needed to increase public familiarity with recommended strategies, especially among groups that are least familiar with recommendations for cancer prevention.

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