Journal of Biosocial Science

Articles

CHANGES IN WAIST CIRCUMFERENCE AND BODY MASS INDEX IN THE US CARDIA COHORT: FIXED-EFFECTS ASSOCIATIONS WITH SELF-REPORTED EXPERIENCES OF RACIAL/ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION

TIMOTHY J. CUNNINGHAMa1, LISA F. BERKMANa1a2, ICHIRO KAWACHIa1, DAVID R. JACOBS JRa3, TERESA E. SEEMANa4, CATARINA I. KIEFEa5 and STEVEN L. GORTMAKERa1

a1 Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

a2 Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

a3 Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA

a4 Division of Geriatrics, School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

a5 Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, USA

Summary

Prior studies examining the association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and obesity have had mixed results and primarily been cross-sectional. This study tests the hypothesis that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts gains in waist circumference and body mass index in Black and White women and men over eight years. In race/ethnicity- and gender-stratified models, this study examined whether change in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts changes in waist circumference and body mass index over time using a fixed-effects regression approach in SAS statistical software, providing control for both measured and unmeasured time-invariant covariates. Between 1992–93 and 2000–01, self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination decreased among 843 Black women (75% to 73%), 601 Black men (80% to 77%), 893 White women (30% to 23%) and 856 White men (28% to 23%). In fixed-effects regression models, controlling for all time-invariant covariates, social desirability bias, and changes in education and parity (women only) over time, an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination over time was significantly associated with an increase in waist circumference (β=1.09, 95% CI: 0.00–2.19, p=0.05) and an increase in body mass index (β=0.67, 95% CI: 0.19–1.16, p=0.007) among Black women. No associations were observed among Black men and White women and men. These findings suggest that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with increases in waist circumference and body mass index among Black women over time.

(Online publication August 02 2012)