Family health history (FHH) is the most basic form of genomic information. Although public health efforts have been made to promote FHH collection, empirical data on the extent to which community residents in rural areas actively collect FHH is limited. Therefore, we examined rates of FHH collection in a community-based sample of South Carolina residents. We conducted a structured telephone survey in a random sample of black and white South Carolina residents. Respondents were asked if they had ever actively collected FHH from relatives using an item developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, 42 % of respondents reported that they had actively collected their FHH. Blacks were significantly more likely than whites to have collected their FHH in bivariate analysis, but race did not have a significant association with FHH collection in the multivariate model (OR = 1.36, 95 % CI = 0.79, 2.35, p = 0.26). The likelihood of collecting FHH was increased among respondents whose last medical visit occurred in the past year compared to those whose last medical visit was more than 1 year ago (OR = 2.00, 95 % CI = 1.12, 3.56, p = 0.02). In addition, older respondents had a reduced likelihood of collecting their FHH (OR = 0.69, 95 % CI = 0.53, 0.90, p = .01). Lastly, women were about twice as likely as men to have collected their FHH (OR = 1.83, 95 % CI = 1.12, 2.99, p = 0.02). Greater efforts are needed to increase the collection of FHH information; these efforts may need to target men, the elderly, and individuals who have not had a recent medical visit.
Keywords: Family health history; Racial disparities; Social determinants.