Self-reported experiences of discrimination and visceral fat in middle-aged African-American and Caucasian women

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Jun 1;173(11):1223-31. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq466. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

Abstract

The authors examined the association between self-reported experiences of discrimination and subtypes of abdominal fat (visceral, subcutaneous) in a population-based cohort of African-American and Caucasian women. Prior studies examining associations between discrimination and abdominal fat have yielded mixed results. A major limitation of this research has been the reliance on waist circumference, which may be a poor marker of visceral fat, particularly for African-American women. Participants were 402 (45% African-American, 55% Caucasian) middle-aged women from the Chicago, Illinois, site of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. Visceral and subcutaneous fat were assessed via computed tomography scans between 2002 and 2005. Linear regression models were conducted to test associations among discrimination and visceral and subcutaneous fat. After adjustment for age and race, every one-point increase on the discrimination scale was associated with a 13.03-cm(2) higher amount of visceral fat (P = 0.04). This association remained significant after further adjustments for total body fat and relevant risk factors, including depressive symptoms. Discrimination was not associated with subcutaneous fat in minimally (P = 0.95) or fully adjusted models. Associations did not differ by race. Findings suggest that visceral fat may be one potential pathway through which experiences of discrimination increase cardiovascular risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat*
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Abdominal / psychology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / analysis
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Substances

  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin