Diabetologia

, Volume 60, Issue 11, pp 2221–2225 | Cite as

Perceived racism and incident diabetes in the Black Women’s Health Study

  • Kathryn L. Bacon
  • Sherri O. Stuver
  • Yvette C. Cozier
  • Julie R. Palmer
  • Lynn Rosenberg
  • Edward A. Ruiz-Narváez
Short Communication

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Our aim was to assess the association of perceived racism with type 2 diabetes, and the possible mediating influence of diet and BMI.

Methods

The Black Women’s Health Study, a follow-up of 59,000 African-American women, began in 1995. Over 16 years 5344 incident cases of diabetes occurred during 576,577 person-years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimated HRs and 95% CIs for categories of ‘everyday racism’ (interpersonal racism in daily life) and ‘lifetime racism’ (reporting ever treated unfairly due to race with respect to police, housing or work) and incident type 2 diabetes. Models were adjusted for age, questionnaire cycle, marital status, socioeconomic status, education, family history of diabetes, physical activity, alcohol use and smoking status, with and without inclusion of terms for dietary patterns and adult BMI.

Results

Compared with women in the lowest quartile of exposure, women in the highest quartile of exposure to everyday racism had a 31% increased risk of diabetes (HR 1.31; 95% CI 1.20, 1.42) and women with the highest exposure to lifetime racism had a 16% increased risk (HR 1.16; 95% CI 1.05, 1.27). Mediation analysis estimated that BMI accounted for half of the association between either the everyday or lifetime racism measure and incident diabetes.

Conclusions/interpretation

Perceived everyday and lifetime racism were associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes in this cohort of African-American women and appear to be at least partly mediated by BMI.

Keywords

Black women Diabetes Obesity Racial discrimination Racism Stress 

Abbreviations

BWHS

Black Women’s Health Study

SES

Socioeconomic status

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn L. Bacon
    • 1
  • Sherri O. Stuver
    • 1
  • Yvette C. Cozier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Julie R. Palmer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lynn Rosenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Edward A. Ruiz-Narváez
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyBoston University School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, Boston University Medical CampusBostonUSA

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