Acculturation and psychosocial stress show differential relationships to insulin resistance (HOMA) and body fat distribution in two groups of blacks living in the US Virgin Islands

Eugene S. Tull, Anne Thurland, Ronald E. LaPorte, Earle C. Chambers

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The objective of this study was to determine whether acculturation and psychosocial stress exert differential effects on body fat distribution and insulin resistance among native-born African Americans and African-Caribbean immigrants living in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Data collected from a non-diabetic sample of 183 USVI-born African Americans and 296 African-Caribbean immigrants age > 20 on the island of St. Croix, USVI were studied. Information on demographic characteristics, acculturation and psychosocial stress was collected by questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements were taken, and serum glucose and insulin were measured from fasting blood samples. Insulin resistance was estimated by the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) method. The results showed that in multivariate regression analyses, controlling for age, education, gender, BMI, waist circumference, family history of diabetes, smoking and alcohol consumption, acculturation was independently related to logarithm of HOMA (InHOMA) scores among USVI-born African Americans, but not among African-Caribbean immigrants. In contrast, among USVI-born African Americans psychosocial stress was not significantly related to InHOMA, while among African-Caribbean immigrants psychosocial stress was independently related to InHOMA in models that included BMI, but not in those which included waist circumference. This study suggests that acculturation and psychosocial stress may have a differential effect on body fat distribution and insulin resistance among native-born and immigrant blacks living in the US Virgin Islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-569
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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