Family history of diabetes, awareness of risk factors, and health behaviors among African Americans

Am J Public Health. 2007 May;97(5):907-12. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.077032. Epub 2007 Mar 29.


Objectives: We examined the role of family history of diabetes in awareness of diabetes risk factors and engaging in health behaviors.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 1122 African American adults without diabetes who were participants in Project DIRECT (Diabetes Interventions Reaching and Educating Communities Together).

Results: After adjustment for age, gender, income, education, body mass index, and perceived health status, African Americans with a family history of diabetes were more aware than those without such a history of several diabetes risk factors: having a family member with the disease (relative risk [RR]=1.09; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.03, 1.15), being overweight (RR=1.12; 95% CI=1.05, 1.18), not exercising (RR=1.17; 95% CI=1.07, 1.27), and consuming energy-dense foods (RR=1.10; 95% CI=1.00, 1.17). Also, they were more likely to consume 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day (RR=1.31; 95% CI=1.02, 1.66) and to have been screened for diabetes (RR=1.21; 95% CI=1.12, 1.29).

Conclusions: African Americans with a family history of diabetes were more aware of diabetes risk factors and more likely to engage in certain health behaviors than were African Americans without a family history of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / genetics
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk-Taking