Prevalence and predictors of multiple behavioral risk factors for colon cancer

Prev Med. 2005 May;40(5):527-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.10.001.


Objectives: This paper examines the prevalence of behavioral risk factors for colorectal cancer (CRC) (e.g., red meat consumption, fruit and vegetable intake, multivitamin intake, alcohol, smoking, and physical inactivity), co-occurrence among these behaviors, and motivation for change among patients at increased risk.

Methods: The study sample included 1,247 patients with recent diagnosis of adenomatous colorectal polyps. Within 4 weeks following the polypectomy, participants completed a baseline survey by telephone.

Results: Sixty-six percent of participants had not been diagnosed with polyps before. Fifty-eight percent of the sample had red meat as a risk factor, 63% had fruit and vegetable consumption as a risk factor, 54% did not take a daily multivitamin, and 44% had physical activity as a risk factor. In contrast, only 9% of the sample had alcohol consumption as a risk factor and only 14% were current smokers. The prevalence of the six individual risk factors was combined into an overall multiple risk factor score (MRF). The average number of risk factors was 2.43. Men, those with a high school education or below, those reporting fair or poor health status, and those with less self-efficacy about risk factor change had more risk factors.

Conclusions: There is a need for multiple risk factor interventions that capitalize on natural intersections among intra- and interpersonal factors that maintain them.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Educational Status
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Vitamins