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Speaking of Health: Assessing Health Communication Strategies for Diverse Populations
paign among middle and high school students, boys and girls, and non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic students (other ethnic groups not reported) (Florida Department of Health, 2000a). The overall rates of decline in Florida’s teen smoking occurred at a significantly faster pace than that of the national average. Between 1998 and 2000, current cigarette use in Florida declined 54 percent among middle school students and 24 percent among high school students, though rates of decline varied by age, stage of smoking, ethnicity, gender, and geographic region. For example, there were greater reductions in cigarette use among high school girls (6.2 percent) than among high school boys (3.3 percent) (Florida Department of Health, 2000b). Why the campaign had less impact on high school boys than girls is unknown.
Variances in smoking rates among different ethnic groups also were found on several measures. In the first year of the campaign, cigarette smoking declined among non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic Blacks, but not among Hispanics and Native American/ Alaskan Native youth (Florida Department of Health, 2000a). By the second year, there was a decline among whites, Blacks, and Hispanics, with no figures reported for Native Americans (Florida Department of Health, 2000b).
National High Blood Pressure Education Program
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program was implemented with the goal of reducing the incidence of death and disability related to high blood pressure, including heart disease and stroke. The campaign assessed progress and program impact by conducting its own surveys and studies, evaluating the results of other major studies, and tracking national surveys such as the National Health Interview Survey and the National Ambulatory Index, among others. At the time of program initiation in 1972, less than one-fourth of the American population was aware of the relationship between hypertension and stroke or heart disease, and misperceptions about high blood pressure were widespread, despite the fact that one in six Americans suffered from the condi-