Perceived discrimination and markers of cardiovascular risk among low-income African American youth

Am J Hum Biol. 2015 Jul-Aug;27(4):546-52. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22683. Epub 2015 Mar 7.


Objectives: Our study examines the relationship between perceived discrimination and levels of C-reactive protein and blood pressure in low-income youth ages 10-15 years old.

Methods: Data were collected from 10 to 15 year old focal children and their mothers. Face-to-face interviews were implemented to collect data on stressors including experiences of everyday discrimination from youth. High sensitivity CRP in dried blood spot samples and diastolic and systolic blood pressure were also collected at the time of the interview.

Results: Perceived discrimination among youth was significantly associated with higher levels of CRP, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure. CRP, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure remained significant after controlling for age-adjusted BMI, waist circumference, and other factors.

Conclusions: Discrimination is a salient risk factor for inflammation and cardiovascular health. Early life course inflammation and cardiovascular reactivity are important candidate pathways through which the repeated exposure to discrimination for minority group members contributes to racial and economic health inequities in adulthood.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Black or African American
  • Blood Pressure*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Nebraska / epidemiology
  • Perception
  • Poverty
  • Racism*
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • C-Reactive Protein