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On Edge: the impact of race-related vigilance on obesity status in African-Americans
  • Published Date:
    May 26 2016
  • Source:
    Obes Sci Pract. 2(2):136-143.


Public Access Version Available on: June 01, 2017 information icon
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    27275395
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4891700
  • Funding:
    U48 DP005031/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Objective

    Nearly half of African-Americans are classified as obese. Perceived racism has been associated with obesity, yet the internal experiences of racism have received little attention. African Americans who face racism may “ready themselves” to cope through survival strategies, including race-related vigilance. This study explores the association between race-related vigilance and obesity in African Americans.

    Design and Methods

    The Reactions to Race module of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (years 2002–2010) was used. Our sample size consisted of 12,214 African-Americans. Race-related vigilance was assessed as: “How often do you think about your race?” and classified as: never, < daily, daily, and > daily. Obesity was dichotomized as body mass index (BMI) ≥30 kg/m2 vs. < 30 kg/m2 using self-reported weight and height. Multivariable logistic models assessed the association between race-related vigilance and obesity.

    Results

    Seventeen percent of respondents reported thinking about their race > daily; 14% daily; 31% < daily, and 39% reported never thinking about their race. Compared to those who reported never thinking about their race, the adjusted odds of obesity were 0.91, 95% CI: 0.72–1.15 among those thinking about their race <daily, 1.09, 95%CI: 0.81–1.46 among those thinking about their race daily, and 1.37, 95% CI: 1.07–1.76 among those thinking about their race > daily.

    Conclusions

    Frequently thinking about one’s race was a risk factor for obesity in African-Americans in this study. Internalized impacts of racism captured through race-related vigilance may be particularly detrimental to African-Americans, driving their risk for obesity.

  • Supporting Files:
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