Are you really healthy? Disparity in self-rated and physical health

What can be said of perceptions around being healthy in the African American community? A new studypublished in the journal Ethnicity & Disease showed a discrepancy between self-rated health and physical health in the African American community. The study analyzed data retrieved from 1,200 individuals in the Faith, Activity and Nutrition program. This program propagates healthy living, like eating fruits and vegetables and regularly exercising, in members of 74 churches across South Carolina.

Some key findings of the study include:

  •  Participants who rated their health with high marks were less likely to have high cholesterol, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis. There were also more likely to be physically active and to eat healthy.
  • Surprisingly, many individuals who rated their health high had several chronic diseases.
  • The authors stated, “A lot of people had hypertension and obesity, and they really didn’t engage in healthy behaviors, but they still rated their own health as good to excellent.”


Adedotun Ogunbajo, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health