Knowledge Gaps and Misconceptions About Coronary Heart Disease Among U.S. South Asians

Namratha R. Kandula*, Manasi A. Tirodkar, Diane S. Lauderdale, Neerja R. Khurana, Gregory Makoul, David W. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Although South Asians are at higher risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) than most other U.S. racial/ethnic groups, very little research has addressed this disparity. Purpose: As a first step in developing culturally targeted CHD prevention messages for this rapidly growing community, this study examined South Asians' knowledge and beliefs about CHD. Methods: Analyses, conducted in 2009, were based on data collected from January to July 2008 in a cross-sectional study population of 270 South Asian adults in Illinois. Interviews were conducted in English, Hindi, or Urdu using a standardized questionnaire. Multivariate regression models were used to examine the associations between sociodemographics and CHD knowledge and attitudes about preventability. Results: Eighty-one percent of respondents had one or more CHD risk factors. Most participants (89%) said they knew little or nothing about CHD. Stress was the most frequently mentioned risk factor (44%). Few mentioned controlling blood pressure (11%); cholesterol (10%); and diabetes (5%) for prevention. Fifty-three percent said that heart attacks are not preventable. Low education level, being interviewed in Urdu or Hindi, and low level of acculturation were associated with less knowledge and believing that CHD is not preventable. Conclusions: A majority of South Asians in this study believed that CHD is not preventable and had low awareness of modifiable risk factors. As a first step, CHD education should target the knowledge gaps that may affect risk factor control and behavior change. Educational messages may need to be somewhat different for subgroups (e.g., by education and language) to be maximally effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-442
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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