Explaining racial and ethnic disparities in cholesterol screening

Jordan Kenik, Muriel Jean-Jacques, Joe Feinglass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether racial and ethnic disparities in cholesterol screening persist after controlling for socioeconomic status, access to care and language. Methods: Data were obtained from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for men aged 35 and older and women aged 45 and older in accordance with the United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines. Self-reported cholesterol screening data are presented for 389,039 respondents reflecting over 141. million people. Sequential logistic regression models of the likelihood of never having been screened are presented adjusted for demographic characteristics, health status, behavioral risk factors, socioeconomic status, health care access, and questionnaire language. Results: A total of 9.1% of respondents, reflecting almost 13. million individuals, reported never having been screened. After adjustment for socioeconomic status, health care access and Spanish language, disparities between whites and Blacks and Hispanics, but not Asians and Pacific Islanders, were eliminated. Conclusions: Lower socioeconomic status, lack of healthcare access and language barriers explained most of the racial and ethnic disparities in cholesterol screening. Expanding insurance coverage, simplifying cardiac risk assessment and improving access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care hold the greatest promise for improving cardiovascular disease screening and treatment for vulnerable populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive medicine
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Access to health care
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Health disparities
  • Race and ethnicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology


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