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Health Behaviors of Rural White, African American and Native American Elders

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Objective: To describe the prevalence and correlates of selected health behaviors among rural older adults. Methods: Data were collected from 114 elders (≥70 years) of 3 ethnic groups (whites, African Americans, and Native Americans) in two rural North Carolina communities. Self-reported health behaviors included diet, tobacco/alcohol use, exercise/weight maintenance, accident avoidance, and health care use. Results: High rates were reported for most behaviors and varied according to ethnicity, gender, age, health conditions, and self-rated health. Poor agreement was found for actual intake of dietary fiber and fat and self-reported adherence to recommendations for those nutrients. Conclusion: These data add to the limited information on health behaviors of rural elders, including ethnic minorities, and indicate that these behaviors may be difficult to implement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health Sciences, Section on Epidemiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC. 2: Department of Family and Community Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC. 3: Nutrition Epidemiology and Applications Program, Department of Public Health Sciences, Section on Epidemiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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