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Primary Prevention of Lead Poisoning in Rural Native American Children: Behavioral Outcomes From a Community-Based Intervention in a Former Mining Region

Kegler, Michelle C. DrPH, MPH; Malcoe, Lorraine Halinka PhD, MPH; Fedirko, Veronika MPH

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0b013e3181c4e252

The current study examined the effectiveness of a community-based lay health advisor intervention, combined with youth engagement, in improving lead poisoning prevention behaviors and associated beliefs in a rural Native American population located in and near a Superfund site containing mining waste. Three sequential (1997, 2000, and 2004) cross-sectional assessments involving in-person interviews with Native American and White caregivers of young children were conducted. Results showed significant improvements over time for Native American, but not for White, for children washing their hands before meals and snacks, and for annual blood lead testing of both Native American and White children. Findings lend support to the value of community-based education for primary prevention of lead poisoning in Native American and rural communities.

Departments of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education (Dr Kegler) and Epidemiology (Ms Fedirko), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; and Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada (Dr Malcoe).

Corresponding Author: Michelle C. Kegler, DrPH, MPH, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322 (

Disclaimer: Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIEHS, NIH.

This publication was made possible by grant #R01 ES 08755 from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The authors thank Brenda Elledge for coordinating T3 data collection, Sally Whitecrow-Ollis for coordinating the intervention locally, and our many community partners for their participation in this study.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.