Trends in black-white differentials in dietary intakes of U.S. adults, 1971-2002

Am J Prev Med. 2007 Apr;32(4):264-272. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2006.12.011.


Background: Disparities in the health status of blacks and whites have persisted despite considerable gains in improved health of the U.S. population. Tracking changes in black-white differentials in dietary attributes over time may help in understanding the contribution of diet to these disparities.

Methods: Data were used from four National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted between 1971 and 2002 for trends in self-reported intakes of energy, macronutrients, micronutrients, fruits and vegetables, and the energy density of foods among U.S. non-Hispanic black (n=7099) and white (n=23,314) men and women aged 25 to 74 years. Logistic and linear regression methods were used to adjust for multiple covariates and survey design.

Results: Energy intake, amount of food, and carbohydrate energy increased, whereas percentage of energy from protein, fat, and saturated fat decreased over time in all race and gender groups (p<0.001). In whites and in black women, energy density increased (p<0.001) in parallel to increases in obesity prevalence. In all surveys, black men and women reported lower intakes of vegetables, potassium, and calcium (p<0.001) than their white counterparts. In men, the race differential in calcium intake increased across surveys (p=0.004).

Conclusions: Dietary intake trends in blacks and whites from 1971 to 2002 were similar, which suggests that previously identified dietary risk factors that differentially affect black Americans have not improved in a relative sense.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Black or African American*
  • Diet / trends*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status
  • Social Class
  • United States
  • White People*