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item Harris, Ellen

Submitted to: Harvard Journal Of African American Public Policy
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Many African American males have dietary and lifestyle practices and beliefs that place them at increased risk for poor health outcomes with excessive personal and health care costs. The purpose of this paper is to guide the formation of policy and program recommendations through better understanding of contemporary African American male health behaviors and dietary patterns. Data from the USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individual 1994-96 were used for this analysis. The effect of diet on the risk of high blood pressure and "any disease" (physician identified and self reported) were estimated. Based on the findings of this analysis, more emphasis should be placed on the development of health education messages and graphics which address African American males and the relationship between health diets, physical activity, and smoking.

Technical Abstract: Data on 479 Many African American males 19 years of age and older were extracted from the USDA Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individual 1994-96 database for this study. The relationship between nutrient intake patterns, disease history, lifestyle practices, and demographic characteristics were evaluated. Nutrient intakes were estimated using the average two consecutive days of dietary intake data. Nutrients assessed were energy, fat (total and saturated), cholesterol, carbohydrate, protein, dietary fiber, sodium and calcium. Demographic variable included education level, income, and geographic location. A categorical variable was created for body mass index (BMI=normal, overweight, and obese). The presence or absence of high blood pressure or "any disease" was used as a proxy indicator of health status. Lifestyle practices included self reports of exercise, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits. Multivariate analysis showed that age and BMI were significantly associated with high blood pressure when demographic, dietary and lifestyle variables were controlled in a logistic regression model. Age, BMI, and fiber intakes were also found to be significantly associated with "any disease" in the model. Results revealed that most men exceeded the recommended levels for those nutrients (saturated fa, cholesterol, protein and sodium) related to poor health outcomes and fell below the recommended levels for those nutrients (carbohydrate, fiber and calcium) related to good health outcomes.