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Ethn Dis. 2008 Autumn;18(4):483-7.

Health-related quality of life among minority populations in the United States, BRFSS 2001-2002.

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Behavioral Surveillance Branch, Division of Adult and Community Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30341, USA.



Improving quality of life is one of the goals of the Healthy People 2010 objectives. Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures can be used to indicate unmet health needs and identify health disparity in population subgroups.


Data were gathered from the 2001-2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state based annual random-digit-dialed telephone survey of non-institutional adults aged > or = 18 years.


The 4-items Healthy Days questions and the 5-item Health Days Symptoms questions were compared among non-Hispanic Whites (White), non-Hispanic Blacks (Black), non-Hispanic Asians (Asian), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN) and Hispanics. Logistic regression models were constructed to evaluate racial/ethnic differences in HRQOL measures after adjusting for confounding factors.


After adjusting for confounders, Blacks were 40%, AIANs were 80%, and Hispanics were twice as likely to report fair or poor general health than Whites. Asians were less likely and AIANs were more likely to report frequent physical distress, mental distress, and activity limitations. After controlling for confounders, there were no racial or ethnic differences in the prevalence of frequent depressive symptoms; however, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians were less likely to report frequent pain, frequent anxiety symptom, and frequent sleep insufficiency than Whites. Blacks, Asians, and AIANs were equally likely to report infrequent vitality as Whites.


Mental health status has a larger impact on health in certain race/ethnic groups. More public health efforts should address the mental health needs of Blacks, Hispanics, and AIANs.

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