Impact of Neighborhood Environments on Health Consciousness, Information Seeking, and Attitudes among US-Born and Non–US-Born Free Clinic Patients

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Abstract

Objectives

This study examined the impact of neighborhood environments on health consciousness, information seeking, and attitudes among uninsured free clinic patients to better understand the specific needs of the population for health promotion and prevention efforts.

Methods

US-born English-speaking, non–US-born English-speaking, and Spanish-speaking free clinic patients completed a self-administered survey using reliable measures in autumn 2014 (N = 769).

Results

The results of this study suggest that social cohesion is positively associated with health consciousness, information seeking, and attitudes. Lower levels of available healthy food in the community were associated with higher levels of health consciousness. Although Spanish speakers reported lower levels of the availability of healthy food, social cohesion, and access to the Internet or text messaging compared with US-born or non–US-born English speakers, they were more likely to be health conscious and have higher levels of health information seeking. Spanish speakers as well as non–US-born English speakers, were more likely to attend health education classes compared with US-born English speakers.

Conclusions

Health education programs for free clinic patients should include strategies to increase social cohesion. Health education programs should consider the diverse needs of these individual populations to maximize the effectiveness of the programs for free clinic patients.

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