Internalized racism, body fat distribution, and abnormal fasting glucose among African-Caribbean women in Dominica, West Indies

Cleve Butler, Eugene S. Tull, Earle C. Chambers, Jerome Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study examined the relationship of internalized racism to glucose intolerance in a population of Afro-Caribbean women aged 18 to 55. Also of interest was whether this relationship would be differentially influenced by the type of body fat distribution or confounded by the level of hostility. A total of 244 women were selected from a systematic sample of households on the island of Dominica, West Indies. Demographic data together with information on internalized racism were collected by questionnaire. Anthropometric information and fasting blood glucose were also measured. Women with high levels of internalized racism exhibited an increased risk of elevated fasting glucose compared to those with low levels of internalized racism (odds ratio (OR) = 2.4; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1-5.5). There was no difference in mean body mass index (BMI) by level of internalized racism. However those with high internalized racism had a significantly larger waist circumference after adjusting for age, education, hostility, and elevated fasting glucose status. In multivariate analyses controlling for age, education, hostility, and either weight or BMI, internalized racism remained independently associated with elevated fasting glucose. However, once waist circumference was included in the model, the relationship of internalized racism to elevated fasting glucose was not statistically significant. This study demonstrates a significant relationship between internalized racism and abnormal levels of fasting glucose which may be mediated through abdominal fat. The exact nature of the relationship of internalized racism to glucose intolerance may be an important area of future study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-148
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Volume94
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Afro-caribbean
  • Body size
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Internalized racism
  • Psychosocial stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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