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Perceived discrimination is associated with health behaviours among African-Americans in the Jackson Heart Study
  1. Mario Sims1,
  2. Ana V Diez-Roux2,
  3. Samson Y Gebreab3,
  4. Allison Brenner4,
  5. Patricia Dubbert5,
  6. Sharon Wyatt6,
  7. Marino Bruce7,
  8. DeMarc Hickson8,
  9. Tom Payne9,
  10. Herman Taylor10
  1. 1Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
  2. 2School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3Metabolic, Cardiovascular and Inflammatory Disease Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  5. 5Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, North Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  6. 6School of Nursing, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
  7. 7Department of Sociology and Criminology, Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
  8. 8Center for Research, Evaluation and Environmental & Policy Change, My Brother's Keeper, Inc, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
  9. 9Department of Otolaryngology & Communicative Sciences, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, USA
  10. 10Cardiovascular Research Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mario Sims, Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson Heart Study, 350 W. Woodrow Wilson Drive, Jackson, MS 39213, USA; msims2{at}


Background Using Jackson Heart Study data, we examined associations of multiple measures of perceived discrimination with health behaviours among African-Americans (AA).

Methods The cross-sectional associations of everyday, lifetime and burden of discrimination with odds of smoking and mean differences in physical activity, dietary fat and sleep were examined among 4925 participants aged 35–84 years after adjustment for age and socioeconomic status (SES).

Results Men reported slightly higher levels of everyday and lifetime discrimination than women and similar levels of burden of discrimination as women. After adjustment for age and SES, everyday discrimination was associated with more smoking and a greater percentage of dietary fat in men and women (OR for smoking: 1.13, 95% CI 1.00 to 1.28 and 1.19, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.34; mean difference in dietary fat: 0.37, p<0.05 and 0.43, p<0.01, in men and women, respectively). Everyday and lifetime discrimination were associated with fewer hours of sleep in men and women (mean difference for everyday discrimination: −0.08, p<0.05 and −0.18, p<0.001, respectively; and mean difference for lifetime discrimination: −0.08, p<0.05 and −0.24, p<0.001, respectively). Burden of discrimination was associated with more smoking and fewer hours of sleep in women only.

Conclusions Higher levels of perceived discrimination were associated with select health behaviours among men and women. Health behaviours offer a potential mechanism through which perceived discrimination affects health in AA.

  • Epidemiology of cardiovascular disease
  • Health inequalities

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