Skip to main content


Bodnar, Lisa M.; Odoms-Young, Angela; Kirkpatrick, Sharon I.; Naimi, Ashley I.; Petersen, Julie M.; & Martin, Chantel L. (2023). Experiences of Racial Discrimination and Periconceptional Diet Quality. Journal of Nutrition, 153(8), 2369-2379. PMCID: PMC10447608


BACKGROUND: Racism is a key determinant of perinatal health disparities. Poor diet may contribute to this effect, but research on racism and dietary patterns is limited.
OBJECTIVE: We aimed to describe the relation between experiences of racial discrimination and adherence to the 2015‒2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
METHODS: We used data from a prospective pregnancy cohort study conducted at 8 United States medical centers (2010‒2013). At 6‒13 weeks of gestation, 10,038 nulliparous people with singleton pregnancies were enrolled. Participants completed a Block food frequency questionnaire, assessing usual diet in the 3 mo around conception, and the Krieger Experiences of Discrimination Scale, assessing the number of situational domains (e.g., at school and on the street) in which participants ever experienced racial discrimination. Alignment of dietary intake with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index (HEI)-2015.
RESULTS: The study showed that 49%, 44%, 35%, and 17% of the Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White participants reported experiences of racial discrimination in any domain. Most participants experienced discrimination in 1 or 2 situational domains. There were no meaningful differences in HEI-2015 total or component scores in any racial or ethnic group according to count of self-reported domains in which individuals experienced discrimination. For example, mean total scores were 57‒59 among Black, 61‒66 among White, 61‒63 among Hispanic, and 66‒69 among Asian participants across the count of racial discrimination domains.
CONCLUSIONS: This null association stresses the importance of going beyond interpersonal racial discrimination to consider the institutions, systems, and practices affecting racialized people to eliminate persistent inequalities in diet and perinatal health.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Nutrition


Bodnar, Lisa M.
Odoms-Young, Angela
Kirkpatrick, Sharon I.
Naimi, Ashley I.
Petersen, Julie M.
Martin, Chantel L.

Article Type




Data Set/Study

Nulliparous Pregnancy Outcomes Study


United States






Martin, C. - 0000-0003-1907-0810