Association Between Body Mass Index and Cancer Screening Adherence Among Latinas in the United States and Puerto Rico

Womens Health Rep (New Rochelle). 2022 May 31;3(1):552-562. doi: 10.1089/whr.2021.0153. eCollection 2022.


Background: Research on the role of body size on cancer screening is mixed with few studies among Latinas in the United States. We evaluated the association between body size and cancer screening adherence among Latinas living in Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using 2012-2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data among Latinas 50-64 years of age (n = 16,410). Breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening (guideline adherent: yes/no), height and weight were self-reported. Prevalence ratios (PRs) derived from Poisson models were estimated for each cancer screening utilization for Puerto Rico versus rest of the United States by body mass index (BMI) category.

Results: Nearly a quarter of women lacked adherence with breast and cervical cancer screening and 43.6% were nonadherent to colorectal cancer screening. Latinas with BMI ≥40.0 kg/m2 in both groups were more likely to lack adherence to cervical cancer screening than women with BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2. For those with BMI ≥40.0 kg/m2, Latinas in Puerto Rico were more likely to lack adherence to colorectal cancer screening recommendations than Latinas living in the rest of the United States (adjusted PR: 1.38; 95% confidence interval = 1.12-1.70).

Conclusions: The role of body size in cancer screening utilization among Latinas differs in women living in Puerto Rico versus in the rest of the United States and varies by cancer type. Understanding Latinas' experience can inform culturally adapted interventions to promote cancer screening.

Keywords: cancer; colorectal cancer; epidemiology; health disparities; obesity.