Background and purpose: Stroke risk factor knowledge and individual risk perception are low in the general public. Our study aimed at identifying the educational effects of a multimedia campaign on stroke knowledge and risk perception in several subgroups at increased risk of stroke.
Methods: Telephone surveys were administered in a random sample of 500 members of the general public, before and immediately after an intense 3 months educational campaign using various mass and print media.
Results: A total of 32.7% of respondents considered themselves as being at risk of stroke before, and 41.9% (P < 0.01) after the intervention. Evaluation of stroke risk increased with number of appreciated individual stroke risk factors. Knowledge of different stroke risks varied considerably and proved to be especially high in obese individuals (98.7%) and smokers (97.9%) and particularly low in patients with coronary heart disease (80.6%).
Conclusions: Our data indicate that educational programs and the introduction of stroke risk factors can increase stroke risk perception in the public. Even though some risk groups (smokers, obese) reveal a ceiling effect, future campaigns should focus on high risk populations remarkably underrating their risk, like those with coronary heart disease or the elderly.