Volume 65, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Behavioral health risk factor and health belief data for the indigenous population of the Peruvian Amazon are unavailable. Therefore, we conducted structured interviews of adults living in 5 towns in the remote Amazon region of Peru. Respondents (n = 179) were 67% women with a mean age of 35.4 years. The average household size was 6.7 people. A majority (72%) were unable to see a doctor when needed because of lack of money and distance. Only 6% reported excellent health, and nearly half (49%) reported fair health. Forty-eight percent drank alcohol and 73% smoked. Only 34% thought mosquitoes cause malaria, but 98% were using mosquito nets. In conclusion, our findings indicate the indigenous population of the Peruvian Amazon has limited access to basic health care. Although most of those surveyed use mosquito netting, few know that mosquitoes transmit malaria. Tobacco and alcohol use are major behavioral health risk factors.


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