Risk Factors for Liver Disease and Associated Knowledge and Practices Among Mexican Adults in the US and Mexico
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- Flores, Y.N., Lang, C.M., Salmerón, J. et al. J Community Health (2012) 37: 403. doi:10.1007/s10900-011-9457-4
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Latinos in the US are disproportionately affected by chronic liver disease, which is the sixth most common cause of death among this group. In Mexico, cirrhosis and other liver diseases are the fourth leading cause of general mortality. The objective of this study was to contrast the liver disease risk factors, knowledge, and prevention practices reported among separate samples of Mexicans living in Los Angeles, CA and in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We assessed the prevalence of specific risk factors (body mass index, waist circumference, and alcohol consumption), the level of knowledge about liver disease in general, hepatitis B (HBV), and hepatitis C (HCV), as well as prevention activities such as screening and vaccination. Data were collected from in-person interviews and anthropometric measures obtained from Mexican adults aged 18–70 years. Chi-square and t tests were used to compare the results between groups. Numerous similarities were observed in the bi-national samples, including high prevalence of obesity, abdominal obesity, and high levels of alcohol consumption. Most participants in both countries recognized that excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for liver disease, but only 60% correctly identified hepatitis C, being overweight or obese, or having diabetes as risk factors. Few participants reported having been screened for HBV or HCV, vaccinated for HBV, or having the intention of getting screened for HBV or HCV. US participants reported significantly higher levels of prevention activities and screening intentions than those in Mexico. Identifying the specific risk factors, levels of knowledge and prevention activities that affect specific racial/ethnic populations is important in order to effectively target efforts to prevent liver disease.