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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health: The Role of Lifestyle, Education, Income, and Wealth


This article addresses the persistent relationship between race/ethnicity, SES, health-related lifestyle behaviors, and self-reported health using data from the 1995 National Health Interview Survey and its topical supplements. Through a series of models, we found that both SES (education, income, home ownership, and house and business monetary value) and health-related lifestyle behaviors (physical activity, nutrition awareness, and smoking) contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in self-reported health. Further, the impact of education on smoking behavior and self-reported health differs by race/ethnicity, with non-Hispanic whites receiving greater health benefits from education than African Americans and Hispanics. Although SES and lifestyle behaviors are indirect paths through which race/ethnicity affects health, the relationship between SES and health also is shaped by racial/ethnic status. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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