, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 849-859
Date: 23 Mar 2011

Language Use and Adherence to Multiple Cancer Preventive Health Behaviors Among Hispanics

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Abstract

Hispanics have lower cancer mortality rates than non-Hispanic Whites and Blacks, despite demographic profiles previously associated with higher cancer mortality. Differences in adherence to multiple cancer-preventive behaviors by acculturation may offer one explanation for this “Hispanic paradox,” but the relationship is not well understood. We examined this relationship using the 2000 National Health Interview Survey, which provides cross-sectional data on a nationally representative sample of US Hispanics. Multinomial logistic regression models estimated relationships between language use (a measure of acculturation) and patterns of adherence, by gender, to multiple cancer-preventive health behaviors using adherence scores. Hispanics had greater odds of adherence to multiple behaviors compared to Non-Hispanics (OR = 2.76 [2.27, 3.36]). Hispanics with greater English language use had lower odds of adherence (OR = 0.45 [0.29, 0.69]). Women were more adherent than men (P < 0.01) and their language use was associated with patterns of behavioral adherence more so than among men. Differences by gender and language use were identified in patterns of adherence to behavioral recommendations among the Hispanic population. Greater English language use was negatively associated with tobacco, alcohol, fruit and vegetable recommendation adherence but not with exercise. Study findings support evidence behaviors occur in combination and contributes to understanding of the role of language use in patterns of behavioral adherence.