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Prior studies examining the association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and obesity have had mixed results and primarily been cross-sectional. This study tests the hypothesis that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts gains in waist circumference and body mass index in Black and White women and men over eight years. In race/ethnicity- and gender-stratified models, this study examined whether change in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts changes in waist circumference and body mass index over time using a fixed-effects regression approach in SAS statistical software, providing control for both measured and unmeasured time-invariant covariates. Between 1992–93 and 2000–01, self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination decreased among 843 Black women (75% to 73%), 601 Black men (80% to 77%), 893 White women (30% to 23%) and 856 White men (28% to 23%). In fixed-effects regression models, controlling for all time-invariant covariates, social desirability bias, and changes in education and parity (women only) over time, an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination over time was significantly associated with an increase in waist circumference (β=1.09, 95% CI: 0.00–2.19, p=0.05) and an increase in body mass index (β=0.67, 95% CI: 0.19–1.16, p=0.007) among Black women. No associations were observed among Black men and White women and men. These findings suggest that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with increases in waist circumference and body mass index among Black women over time.

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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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