Police Bias and Low Relatability and Diet Quality
Examining the Importance of Psychosocial Factors in Predominantly Black Communities
Published in: Journal of Urban Health, Volume 100, pages 924-936 (October 2023). doi: 10.1007/s11524-023-00785-0
Posted on RAND.org on November 06, 2023
How police bias and low relatability may contribute to poor dietary quality is poorly understood. In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed data from 2021 from a cohort of n = 724 adults living in predominantly Black communities in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; these adults were mostly Black (90.6%), low-income (median household income $17,500), and women (79.3%). We estimated direct and indirect paths between police mistrust and dietary quality (measured by Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015) through perceived stress, community connectedness, and subjective social status. Dietary quality was poor (mean HEI-2015 score was 50) and mistrust of police was high: 78% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that something they say might be interpreted as criminal by the police due to their race/ethnicity. Police bias and low relatability was associated with lower perceived social status = − 0.03 (95% confidence interval [CI]: − 0.05, − 0.01). Police bias and low relatability was marginally associated with low dietary quality β = − 0.14 (95% CI: − 0.29, 0.02). Nineteen percent of the total association between police bias and low relatability and lower dietary quality β = − 0.16 (− 0.01, − 0.31) was explained by an indirect association through lower community connectedness, or how close respondents felt with their community Police bias and low relatability may play a role in community connection, social status, and ultimately dietary disparities for Black Americans. Addressing police bias and low relatability is a continuing and pressing public health issue.