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High Risk Health Behaviours among Adult Jamaicans



The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of high risk health behaviours among adult Jamaicans aged 15–49 years in 2000, and to compare the results with the 1993 survey. A nationally representative sample of 2013 persons aged 15–74 years was surveyed in 2000 using cluster sampling in the Jamaica Healthy Lifestyle Survey (Wilks et al, unpublished). Interviewer administered questionnaires and anthropometrical measurements were done. Data for a sub-sample of adults aged 15–49 years were analyzed. The sub-sample included 1401 persons (473 men and 928 women). Significantly more men (18.6%) than women (4.3%) reported never having had a blood pressure check (p = 0.0001). Approximately one-third of the women reported that they had never had a Pap smear (36.0%) or a breast examination (31.2%). Current cigarette smoking was reported in 28.6% of men and 7.7% of women (OR 3.73 CI 2.71, 5.15), while 49.0% of men and 15.0% of women ever smoked marijuana (OR 3.28 CI 2.56, 4.20). Significantly more men (28.0%) than women (11.7%) reported ever having a sexually transmitted disease (OR 2.93 CI 2.16, 3.97); having more than one sexual partner in the past year (49.1% vs 11.4%, OR 4.31 CI 3.22, 5.76) and usually using a condom during sexual intercourse (55.3% vs 40.5%, OR 1.3 CI 1.11, 1.68). Between 1993 and 2000, significant trends include: more persons reported having a blood pressure check, a reduction in multiple sexual partners, increased condom use at last sex (women), reduced crack/cocaine use (males) and increased marijuana smoking. Although there were some significant positive lifestyle trends between 1993 and 2000, high risk behaviours remain common among Jamaican adults. Comprehensive health promotion programmes are needed to address these risk behaviours.

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e-Published: 04 Jun, 2013
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