Elucidating the Multidimensionality of Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Metabolic Syndrome in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL)

Int J Behav Med. 2020 Apr;27(2):188-199. doi: 10.1007/s12529-020-09847-y.


Background: Socioeconomic (SES) factors underlying disparities in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) and consequently, type 2 diabetes among Hispanics/Latino populations are of considerable clinical and public health interest. However, incomplete and/or imprecise measurement of the multidimensional SES construct has impeded a full understanding of how SES contributes to disparities in metabolic disease. Consequently, a latent-variable model of the SES-MetSyn association was investigated and compared with the more typical proxy-variable model.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional probability sample (2008-2011) of 14,029 Hispanic/Latino individuals of Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Central American, South American, and Mexican ancestry living in the USA was used. SES proxy's education, income, and employment were examined as effect indicators of a latent variable, and as individual predictors. MetSyn was defined using 2009 harmonized guidelines, and MetSyn components were also examined individually.

Results: In multivariate regression analyses, the SES latent variable was associated with 9% decreased odds of MetSyn (95% confidence interval: 0.85, 0.96, P < .001) and was associated with all MetSyn components, except diastolic blood pressure. Additionally, greater income, education, and employment status were associated with 4%, 3%, and 24% decreased odds of having MetSyn, respectively (Ps < .001). The income-MetSyn association was only significant for women and those with current health insurance.

Conclusions: Hispanic/Latinos exhibit an inverse association between SES and MetSyn of varying magnitudes across SES variables. Public health research is needed to further probe these relationships, particularly among Hispanic/Latina women, to ultimately improve healthcare access to prevent diabetes in this underserved population.

Keywords: Health disparities; Hispanics/Latinos; Latent models; Metabolic syndrome; Socioeconomic status; Women’s health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • United States
  • Young Adult