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Prev Med. 1987 Sep;16(5):696-709.

Assessing knowledge of cardiovascular health-related diet and exercise behaviors in Anglo- and Mexican-Americans.

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Hispanic Community Research Project, San Diego State University, California 92182.


This article describes the Adult and Child Behavior Knowledge Scales that were used as part of the San Diego Family Health Project to measure knowledge of health behaviors related to cardiovascular diseases in two ethnic groups: Anglo- and Mexican-Americans. The psychometric characteristics of these scales indicate acceptable reliabilities for assessing knowledge of dietary sodium, dietary fat, and exercise among both adults and children and differ from other health knowledge scales in that they focus on "behavioral capability" rather than on the link between behavior and disease. It is believed that the type of information measured by our scales is more closely related to behavior changes sought in contemporary cardiovascular disease prevention trials. Results of ANOVA used to test differences in knowledge by ethnicity and sex indicate strong main effects for ethnicity among both children and adults. However, sex was not consistently related to knowledge, except for the general tendency of males to be more knowledgeable about exercise. Step-wise and simultaneous-entry multiple regression were used to test a subset of variables, including sex, education, self-efficacy, acculturation (for Mexican-Americans), and parental health knowledge (for children) as determinants of health knowledge. Education was the strongest predictor for Anglo-American adults, and acculturation level was the strongest for Mexican-American adults. Among children, the only statistically significant variable was parental acculturation level for Mexican-Americans. The scales were found to be useful in measuring differences in knowledge across cultural/linguistic groups and to clearly identify marginally acculturated Mexican-Americans as being least aware of health-behavior knowledge. Implications are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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