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Am J Prev Med. 1996 Nov-Dec;12(6):450-8.

Correlates of health promotion behaviors in low-income Black women and Latinas.

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Department of Pediatrics, King/Drew Medical Center, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles 90059, USA.



Factors associated with practicing five health promotion behaviors (sleeping 7-8 hours per night, eating break-fast, exercising three times per week, and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco use) were identified in 243 low-income Black and Latina women whose children were enrolled in Head Start programs in South Central Los Angeles.


Based on previous studies, interviews with community leaders and health personnel, and focus groups with community residents, I designed and administered surveys to identify correlates of health promotion behaviors. We assessed demographic variables; knowledge, attitudes, and perceived barriers to health promotion behaviors; perceived susceptibility to disease and efficacy in determining health outcome; social and family support for health promotion; sources of health promotion information; interactions with health care providers; and quality of life in the community.


Being Latina, having a low perceived susceptibility to cancer, and using leaflets and flyers as sources of health promotion information were associated with practicing more health promotion behaviors. Exposure to violence (having a family member killed) and perceptions of community health care workers as uncaring were associated with practicing fewer health promotion behaviors.


These findings suggest that a range of factors may be related to healthy and unhealthy lifestyles in low-income, ethnic minority women and that environmental stressors, such as exposure to violence, may significantly affect health promotion behavior in these groups.

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