OBJECTIVE: To describe the level of knowledge regarding risk factors and warning signs for stroke and heart attack among White and African American adults in Michigan and to quantify racial disparities. METHODS: Knowledge of stroke and heart attack risk factors and warning signs was assessed by using data from the 2004 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. Prevalence estimates of knowledge were generated, and statistical differences in knowledge between Whites and African Americans were assessed. Adequate knowledge was defined as knowing 3 correct warning signs or risk factors. Logistic regression models were used to quantify the racial disparity in knowledge while controlling for potential confounding. RESULTS: Whites had substantially higher levels of adequate knowledge of risk factors (stroke: 31.6% vs 13.8%; heart attack: 52.6% vs 24.3%) and warning signs (stroke: 30.0% vs 17.2%; heart attack: 29.3% vs 13.8%) compared with African Americans (all observed differences were significant at P < .05). The odds of adequate knowledge of risk factors (stroke: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 2.9; heart attack: AOR 3.4) and warning signs (stroke: AOR 2.0; heart attack: AOR 2.4) were significantly higher for Whites than for African Americans. CONCLUSION: A strong racial disparity in the knowledge of stroke and heart attack risk factors and warning signs exists among Michigan adults. Communitywide public education programs in conjunction with targeted interventions for at-risk populations are necessary to produce meaningful improvements in the awareness of stroke and heart attack risk factors and warning signs among Michigan adults
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