Factors influencing health knowledge and behaviors among the elderly in rural China

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Abstract

Objectives: Health knowledge and behaviors are the key elements that ensure high quality of health for the elderly. This study explored and determined the conditions and factors of health knowledge and behaviors that affect the elderly in rural China. Methods: A cross-sectional research approach and random stratified sampling method were used in 12 towns and 48 villages in the Chongqing Municipality, Henan, and Zhejiang Provinces in China from June to September 2013. The collected data included: (1) socio-demographic characteristics of 1593 elderly people; (2) accuracy rate on health knowledge of the elderly, which was analyzed and compared among the three sample areas by using Chi-square test; and (3) mean scores on the health behaviors of the elderly, which were analyzed and compared by using analysis of variance (ANOVA). The multiple-linear regression method was used to analyze the factors affecting the health knowledge and behaviors of the elderly. Results: Significant differences were observed among the nine items in the health knowledge questionnaire (p = 0.000 < 0.001). The average accuracy rate of the nine items was 57.43%. Significant differences were observed among the eleven items on the health behaviors of the elderly in the sample rural areas (p = 0.000 < 0.001). Age, economic level, degree of education, distance from home to medical institutions and disposable personal income (DPI) can affect the scores of the health knowledge and behaviors of the elderly (p = 0.000 < 0.001). Conclusions: Lack of health knowledge and poor health behaviors are common among the elderly in the sample areas of rural China. This deficiency poses a serious threat on the promotion of health conditions and the improvement of the level of health quality among the elderly. Different types of access to sources of health knowledge should be used to increase health knowledge scores of the elderly. Various potential intervening measures should also be adopted to improve their health behaviors of elderly people.

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He, Z., Cheng, Z., Shao, T., Liu, C., Shao, P., Bishwajit, G., … Feng, Z. (2016). Factors influencing health knowledge and behaviors among the elderly in rural China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100975

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