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Open Access Research article

Behavioural factors associated with diarrhea among adults over 18 years of age in Beijing, China

Chunna Ma1, Shuangsheng Wu1, Peng Yang1, Haiyue Li1, Song Tang2 and Quanyi Wang1*

  • * Corresponding author: Quanyi Wang

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Diagnostic and Traceability Technologies for Food Poisoning, Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Beijing 100013, China

2 The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79416, USA

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:451  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-451

Published: 13 May 2014



To date, a large proportion of people still suffer from diarrhea diseases. In addition to the burden of diarrhea, there are substantial social and economic costs caused by the high incidence of diarrheal diseases. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the self-reported prevalence of diarrhea and associated risk factors of diarrhea among adults in Beijing, China.


A multistage, stratified study based on cross-sectional data was performed using randomized and systematic sampling, recruiting 12,936 adults over 18 years of age in Beijing. All adults were requested to complete a questionnaire, including information such as demographic characteristics, incidence of diarrhea, and behaviors related to the diarrhea.


The self-reported prevalence of diarrhea was 17.5% during the last year prior to the survey. Six behavioral factors were significantly associated with diarrhea in our study including: (1) washing hands before meals and after defecation (Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) 0.707, 95% CI 0.597 ~ 0.837), (2) washing hands with soap and running water (AOR 0.872, 95% CI 0.786 ~ 0.967), (3) consuming raw seafood (AOR 1.285, 95% CI 1.138 ~ 1.450), (4) using the same chopping block and knife when processing raw and cooked food (AOR 1.375, 95% CI 1.225 ~ 1.542), (5) using the same chopsticks to handle raw and cooked food (AOR1.149, 95% CI 1.041 ~ 1.268), and (6) regularly participating in physical exercise (AOR 0.719, 95% CI 0.651 ~ 0.793).


Good health habits, good eating habits, and regular exercise can prevent the episodes of diarrhea, and thus decrease the potential for disease occurrence.

Diarrhea; Behavior; Influence factor