Objectives: The purpose of the study was to evaluate differences between Latino and non-Latino White adults in health-related behavioral risk factors.
Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with 652 Latinos and 584 non-Latino Whites in San Francisco selected by random-digit dialing.
Results: Latino men and women, compared with their non-Latino White counterparts, were less likely to have consumed any alcoholic beverage in the previous month (59% and 29% vs 77% and 75%, respectively), consumed fewer drinks per week (6.6 and 3.0 vs 8.9 and 5.1, respectively), and were more likely to be sedentary (40% and 46% vs 17% and 23%). Latina women were less likely than non-Latina Whites to smoke cigarettes (8% vs 29%), to have ever had a Pap smear (76% vs 93%), and to have ever had a clinical breast examination (81% vs 96%). Multivariate analyses adjusting for sex, age, education, and employment confirmed univariate findings.
Conclusions: Behavioral risk factor profiles by ethnicity help emphasize priorities of health promotion programs for a community. Latino needs include maintenance of limited consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, promotion of regular physical activity, and increasing use of low-cost cervical and breast cancer screening tests.