Everyday Discrimination and Metabolic Syndrome Incidence in a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sample: Study of Women's Health Across the Nation

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Abstract

Objective

Everyday discrimination may contribute to incident metabolic syndrome (MetS) in the United States and related racial/ethnic differences in MetS. The study investigated whether everyday discrimination predicted MetS in a diverse sample.

Methods

A longitudinal, cohort study of 2132 women (mean [standard deviation] = 45.8 [2.7] years) who self-reported as black (n = 523), white (n = 1065), Chinese (n = 194), Japanese (n = 227), or Hispanic (n = 123) at baseline drawn from seven cities across the United States was conducted. MetS was defined in accordance with the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria. The Everyday Discrimination scale was used to assess exposure to and level of everyday discrimination.

Results

Everyday discrimination exposure at baseline predicted a 33% greater incidence of MetS during the 13.89-year (standard deviation = 3.83, hazard ratio (HR) = 1.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.11–1.64, p = .001) follow-up in the full sample and was most pronounced in black, Hispanic, and Japanese women. Each 1-point increase in the continuous everyday discrimination score (HR = 1.03, 95% CI =1.01–1.05, p = .001) predicted a 3% greater incidence of MetS and, specifically, blood pressure (HR = 1.01, 95% CI = 1.00–1.03, p = .04), waist circumference (HR = 1.05, 95% CI =1.03–1.06, p < .001), and triglyceride level (HR = 1.02, 95% CI =1.00–1.04, p = .01). These associations were independent of risk factors including physical activity, socioeconomic status, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

Conclusions

Everyday discrimination contributes to poorer metabolic health in midlife women in the United States. These findings have clinical implications for the development of MetS and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and intervention strategies to reduce these outcomes.

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