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J Nutr. 1997 Oct;127(10 Suppl):2128S-2133S.

The health of Navajo women: findings from the Navajo Health and Nutrition Survey, 1991-1992.

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  • 1Nutrition and Dietetics Section, Indian Health service, Rockville, MD 20857, USA.


Cancer-screening behaviors, reproductive history, risk behaviors during pregnancy and chronic disease risk factors were examined in a representative sample of 566 Navajo women residing on the Navajo Reservation in 1991-1992. Among all women 15 y and older, 59% were overweight, 4% were current smokers, 10% currently used smokeless tobacco and 12% were anemic. Seventy-one percent of Navajo women aged 18 and older reported ever having had a Pap smear, but only 35% of women aged 50 and over reported ever having had a mammogram. Among parous women, the prevalence of having received no prenatal care for any pregnancy declined from 60% among women 60 and older to 13% among women 20-29 y of age, and the prevalence of ever having had a child born at home declined from 82 to 2%. These data suggest marked secular improvement in these pregnancy-related risk behaviors. However, data on cancer-screening behaviors indicate opportunities to improve health of Navajo women by increasing their use of mammography and Pap smear screening services.

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