Health status and behaviors among adults residing in rural Dominican Republic

Caban-Martinez, A. J.; Halder, G. E.; Tellechea, L.; Fajardo, M.; Kaltman, J.; Anand, J.; Prendes, S.; Penyak, V.; Koganti, D.; Chavoustie, S.; Fleming, L. E.
April 2012
Rural & Remote Health;Apr-Jun2012, Vol. 12 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Introduction: The rapidly increasing burden of chronic diseases linked to adequacy of healthcare services and individual health behaviors is a key determinant of global public health. Given demographic aging and the accompanying health transition, chronic diseases in low and middle income communities of the Dominican Republic are likely to increase significantly. The objective of this article was to report on efforts in surveillance of health conditions and behaviors in underserved rural Dominican communities. Methods: A modified 30 item, language-sensitive health survey was randomly administered to 117 adult participants (18 years and older) during a health fair held at three rural villages from March to April 2009 in the rural San Cristobál region of the Dominican Republic. Descriptive analyses of select health conditions and behavior variables from all completed surveys were tabulated. Results: Adult participant ages ranged from 18 to 79 years (mean ± standard deviation; 34.0 ± 2.1), height from 1.4 to 2.0 m (1.7 ± 0.1), weight from 41.8 to 100.0 kg (66.2 ± 1.7) and BMI from 15.2 to 46.2 (24.2 ± 0.7). Overall, 69.2% of the sample self-reported their general health status to be fair to poor. The top three chronic diseases included: high blood pressure (35.8%), diabetes (15.0%), and asthma (14.2%). In all, 33.4% reported current smoker status and 61.7% were classified as heavy alcohol drinkers. Conclusion: Considerable variation was found in the self-report of health conditions and behavioral characteristics among those individuals that attended the health fair. Documenting these important health indicators in the rural communities has the potential to inform the development of surveillance activities and prevention efforts for future health education interventions.


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