ACCESSIBLE SUMMARY What is known on the subject? Several studies have measured the general public's knowledge and attitudes towards Alzheimer's disease; however, much of this work is based on western samples. Due to cultural differences, the western findings may be difficult to generalize to the Chinese general public. In addition, the few studies conducted in China were often restricted to a relatively narrow range of knowledge and attitudes. What this paper adds to existing knowledge? The general public had little knowledge of Alzheimer's disease, especially on the causes, symptoms and risk factors. In terms of attitudes, although the general public held positive attitudes towards persons with Alzheimer's disease, most of them were not sure whether or not to share a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease with the patient. In daily life, only a low proportion of people kept mentally active. What are the implications for practice? A popularization of a wide range of knowledge about Alzheimer's disease needs to be undertaken, especially focusing on persons with low educational level and emphasizing the causes, symptoms and risk factors. Besides, there is a significant need to draw up evidence-based dietary and lifestyle guidelines for Alzheimer's disease risk reduction. Moreover, health promotion agencies should identify priority groups for Alzheimer's disease risk reduction initiatives, especially those with lower income, a lower level of knowledge on Alzheimer's disease and with chronic diseases. ABSTRACT AIM The purpose of this descriptive correlational cross-sectional study was to assess the current level of knowledge, attitudes and health behaviours regarding Alzheimer's disease among community residents in Tianjin, China and to identify factors related to these attributes. METHOD A convenience sample of 140 community-dwelling adults aged 20-75 years was selected to complete a researcher-designed questionnaire about Alzheimer's disease-related knowledge, attitudes and health behaviours. RESULTS The findings revealed that 15.7% of the participants knew the risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. With regard to attitude, 138 participants (98.6%) believed that people with Alzheimer's disease should not be discriminated against, and 55.7% were not sure whether to share a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease with the patient. In daily life, 28.6% of the participants pursued their interests and hobbies. A lower level of health behaviours was associated with lower income, presence of chronic diseases and a lower level of knowledge about Alzheimer's disease. DISCUSSION These findings provide a strong case for population-level risk reduction initiatives to be undertaken, especially among people with lower income, a lower level of knowledge on Alzheimer's disease and with chronic diseases.