School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Background: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rising among US Hispanics, but few studies have examined the preventive health behaviors for these NCDs among Hispanics. This study compared the preventive health behaviors of smoke-free living, physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, and avoidance of heavy alcohol use in Hispanics in the United States and Hispanics living along the US-Mexico border.

Methods: Two weighted data sets with information on Hispanic populations were analyzed: 1) the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (n = 29,942) from 2009; and 2) the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (n = 1,439) recruited from the US-Mexico border between 2008–2011. To compare the preventive health behaviors of the samples, within a generalized estimating equation framework, weighted univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted controlling for age, educational attainment, employment, language, and insurance status. Statistical tests were two-sided with a significance level set at 0.05.

Results: Both samples reported low engagement in preventive behaviors. However, Hispanic males and females from the US-Mexico border were significantly less likely than the national sample to meet physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines. Also, Hispanic males from the US-Mexico border were more likely to engage in heavy alcohol use.

Conclusion: The lack of preventive health behaviors among Hispanics living along the US-Mexico border presents a dire prospect for NCD control in the region. Multipronged approaches to address multiple behaviors should be considered.


© 2015 Reininger et al.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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BMC Public Health





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