Psychosocial stress is associated with obesity and diet quality in Hispanic/Latino adults

Ann Epidemiol. 2015 Feb;25(2):84-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Nov 12.


Purpose: To examine the association of psychosocial stress with obesity, adiposity, and dietary intake in a diverse sample of Hispanic/Latino adults.

Methods: Participants were 5077 men and women, aged 18 to 74 years, from diverse Hispanic/Latino ethnic backgrounds. Linear regression models were used to assess the association of ongoing chronic stressors and recent perceived stress with measures of adiposity (waist circumference and percentage body fat) and dietary intake (total energy, saturated fat, alternative healthy eating index-2010). Multinomial logistic models were used to describe the odds of obesity or overweight relative to normal weight.

Results: Greater number of chronic stressors and greater perceived stress were associated with higher total energy intake. Greater recent perceived stress was associated with lower diet quality as indicated by alternative healthy eating index-2010 scores. Compared with no stressors, reporting three or more chronic stressors was associated with higher odds of being obese (odds ratio = 1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-2.1), greater waist circumference (β = 3.3, 95% CI 1.0-5.5), and percentage body fat (β = 1.5, 95% CI 0.4-2.6).

Conclusions: The study found an association between stress and obesity and adiposity measures, suggesting that stress management techniques may be useful in obesity prevention and treatment programs that target Hispanic/Latino populations.

Keywords: Dietary intake; Obesity; Psychosocial stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / ethnology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / ethnology*
  • Young Adult