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Stroke. 2006 Apr;37(4):946-50. Epub 2006 Mar 2.

Knowledge about risk factors for stroke: a population-based survey with 28,090 participants.

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Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany.



Increased knowledge of stroke risk factors in the general population may lead to improved prevention of stroke. The objective of the present study was to assess knowledge of stroke risk factors and to determine factors associated with knowledge.


In a population-based survey, we sent a questionnaire to randomly selected residents in Berlin who were > or =50 years of age enquiring about knowledge of stroke risk factors. Knowledge was assessed in an open-ended question. In addition, we enquired about the source of participants' information. Sociodemographic factors, including age, sex, educational level, and nationality, were also assessed.


A total of 28,090 of 75,720 residents (response rate, 37%) responded to the questionnaire. Of all respondents, 68% were able to name > or =1 correct stroke risk factor, and 13% named 4 correct risk factors. The majority of respondents named mass media as source of information (82%), followed by family/friends (45%) and by general physicians (20%). In multivariable analysis, increased knowledge of stroke risk factors was significantly associated with younger age, a higher educational level, not living alone, a German nationality, and having received any information about stroke during the last year. However, characteristics of respondents using the respective sources of information varied significantly.


Mass media was most frequently named as a source of information about stroke risk factors. Source of information used varied according to population characteristics. Health education programs should take this into account and be adapted accordingly.

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