The relationship of internalized racism to body fat distribution and insulin resistance among African adolescent youth

Earle C. Chambers, Eugene S. Tull, Henry S. Fraser, Nyasha R. Mutunhu, Natasha Sobers, Elisa Niles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship of internalized racism (INR) and hostility to body fat distribution and insulin resistance in black adolescent children age 14-16 years on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Questionnaire data on psychosocial variables and anthropometric measurements, together with a fasting blood sample, were obtained from 53 low-birth weight and 119 normal-birthweight adolescents. Insulin resistance was calculated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Spearman correlation analyses showed that both INR (r=0.244) and hostility (r=0.204) were significantly (p<0.05) correlated with waist circumference in girls but not boys. Among girls, age- and birthweight-adjusted mean levels of BMI and waist circumference were greater for those with high levels of INR and hostility compared to those with low levels of both variables. In multiple logistic regression analyses, a high INR remained independently associated [odds ratio=3.30 (95%CI=1.30-8.36); p= 0.012] with having an elevated HOMA value in models that included age, income, birthweight, hostility, physical activity and family history of diabetes. The results of the current study show that the positive relationship between INR and metabolic health risk seen in African-Caribbean adults also exists in African Caribbean adolescent youth independent of birthweight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1594-1598
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the National Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004



  • Body fat
  • HOMA
  • Insulin resistance
  • Racism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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