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Safety behaviours among Alaskan Native and American Indian people living in Alaska


Objective: To examine self-reported safety behaviours among 3828 Alaskan Native and American Indian people enrolled in the Alaska Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) Study, 2004–2006.

Design: A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a cohort study. A non-random sample of participants (2322 women and 1506 men) aged ⩾18 years from three regions of Alaska completed questions on safety behaviours as part of a comprehensive health and lifestyle computer-assisted self-administered questionnaire.

Results: Most participants reported never driving after drinking (94.1%) or riding with a driver who had been drinking (91.3%). Fewer (74.1%) participants reported using a seatbelt always or almost always when riding in a vehicle. Only about half (55%) always kept to the speed limit when driving or used a personal flotation device when boating (51.5%). Even fewer (20.5%) reported using a helmet when riding on off-road vehicles, including four-wheelers and snowmobiles. Factors identified among those least likely to use safety devices and practise good safety behaviours are: younger age, lower household income and education, non-married, speaking only English at home, and a self-reported health status of poor to fair (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Recommendations for future injury prevention efforts in this population are to increase use of personal flotation devices while boating and address the underuse of helmets with off-road vehicles. Limited prevention resources should be used to target those who engage in risky behaviours to maximise programme impact.

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