Family History of Diabetes, Awareness of Risk Factors, and Health Behaviors Among African Americans

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

American Journal of Public Health

Publication Date


Date Added



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.






Public Health

Comments/Extra Notes

Additional authors: Owens, Michelle; Porterfield, Deborah; Engelgau, Michael M.