Background. The prevalence of selected health indicators were compared among the Catawba Indians, African Americans, and whites in South Carolina, considering the possible role of rural locality and education. Methods. Catawba members were respondents of a 1998 survey (N = 808). Other South Carolina residents were respondents of the 1995-1997 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (4,150 whites and 1,413 African Americans). Prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, overweight, poor health, smoking, physical inactivity, and poor diet were compared among the racial/ethnic groups. Logistic regression analyses were conducted within strata of urban/rural locality and education to determine whether these factors were associated with the adverse health indicators. Results. Both Catawba and African Americans had higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, overweight, poor health, physical inactivity, and poor diet than whites. In addition, prevalence of diabetes, poor health, smoking, and poor diet were higher among the Catawba than among African Americans. Restricting the analyses to comparisons within urban/rural locality had little effect, whereas restricting the analyses to comparisons by education level eliminated many of the disparities among those with low education. Conclusions. Prevalence of chronic disease and adverse health behavior are higher among the Catawba than among other residents of South Carolina, especially compared with white residents.
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