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What Do Public Housing Residents Say About Their Health?


Background: Residents of public housing have poorer health indicators than comparably resourced individuals from the larger community.

Objectives: To identify major health concerns, issues, and barriers to health of community members living in public housing developments, especially as related to cardiovascular disease prevention. To identify similarities and differences between data collected using two methods to inform future health promotion programs and policies.

Methods: Key informant interviews were conducted with resident leaders and analyzed qualitatively in eight housing developments. Results were compared with quantitative data collected from a resident health survey with a large sample that analyzed individual and development-level characteristics, major health concerns, and barriers.

Results: Several development-level characteristics were significantly associated with residents’ health concerns and barriers, including development size, percentage of Spanish speakers, and presence of a tenant task force (TTF); important health promotion barriers included lack of resident engagement, inconsistency in programming, lack of knowledge of actions to prevent chronic disease, and lack of resources for health promotion. Safety-related health concerns were named as a priority.

Conclusions: Multiple data collection methods can yield important data about community health priorities and barriers; areas of difference and similarity between methods are especially useful in guiding health promotion efforts and opportunities.

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