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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 12:00 PM

Lao Medical Students' health behaviors (tobacco, alcohol and exercise) and prevention counseling beliefs (Healthy Doc- Healthy Patient)

Linda Hyder Ferry, MD, MPH1, Floyd Petersen, MPH2, Maniphanh Vongphosy, MD, MPH3, Khamphithoune Somsamouth, MD4, Anothay Kongsayasak, MD, MPH5, Sengphachanh Phimmavong, BA4, Boualoy Mounivong, MD4, Souvankham Phommaseng, MD4, Jayakaran Job, MD, DrPH6, Emmanuel Rudatsikira, MD, MPH6, Pramil Singh, DrPH2, Synnove Knutsen, MD, PhD, MPH6, and Erica Frank, MD, MPH7. (1) Preventive Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine & School of Public Health, Nichol Hall Room 1516, Yucaipa, CA 92399, (2) Epidemiology and BioStatistics, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Evans Hall Room 203, Loma Linda, CA 92350, (3) Adventist Development and Relief Agency Laos, Ban Sikhaytha, Sikhottabong District Luanphabang Road, Post Box 5000, Vientianne Capital City, Lao PDR, Laos, (4) Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Laos, (5) Center for Information and Education on Health, Ministry of Health, Vientiane, Laos, (6) Epidemiology, Loma Linda University, Nichol Hall Room 2010, School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA 92350, (7) Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Objective: There is a well-established relationship between US physicians' personal health habits and their patient prevention counseling practices . We hypothesized a similar relationship for Lao medical students.

Methods: Medical students' tobacco, alcohol and exercise patterns have never been comprehensively studied prior to the Healthy Doc-Healthy Patient (HDHP) study (17 US schools; 1998-2003). We modified and translated the HDHP questionnaire for the Lao culture and obtained local Ethical Committee approval. Students gave voluntary consent, completed an anonymous, self-administered, 87-item questionnaire and were tested for expired carbon monoxide (Bedfont Micro III Smokerlyzer).

Results: We recruited students from the last four classes (386/442, 87.3%) between February and October 2005. Tobacco use in Lao medical students (36/386, 18%) is predominantly a male phenomenon (30/167, 10.8% vs. 6/219, 0.03%) and all six females were only casual smokers. Only 37.7% of males have never smoked, compared to 90% of females. Age of initiation was after age 20 years in 53.8%. Smokers and non-smokers agreed that smoking is harmful (99.2%) and active (96.4%) and passive (95.3%) smoking increases the risk of heart disease. CO testing confirmed self-reports.

One fourth drank alcohol on 3 or more days in the last month (101/330, 26.1%) and 45.6% drank more than 5 drinks/ episode (176/330) in the last month. Ever smokers (57.1%) were more likely to drink than never smokers (16.9%)

Relationships between personal risk behaviors, counseling practices and gender/cultural norms for exercise habits, alcohol and tobacco use will be correlated and compared to results from the HDHP study in US medical students.