Metabolic Biomarkers of Allostatic Load in African-American Women




Mandapati, Surendra
Tan, Marissa
Dodgen, Leilani
Kitzman-Ulrich, Heather


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Introduction: The purpose of this study was to investigate risk factors of metabolic biomarkers of allostatic load in African-American women in the Better Me Within (BMW) program, a community-based participatory research study testing a faith-enhanced diabetes prevention program. Methods: Baseline health measures, psychosocial and demographic survey data were collected in 136 African-American women with a mean age of 49.3 years and mean body mass index (BMI) of 37.8 during baseline measurement for the BMW study at 7 churches in Dallas County over a period of 2 years. The metabolic biomarkers of high density lipoprotein (HDL), total cholesterol/HDL ratio, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), triglycerides, and BMI were collected. The highest risk quartile of each biomarker was assigned a value of “1,” while all other values were assigned a “0.” All biomarker scores for each participant were summed for a maximum allostatic score of 7. A Poisson Regression was used to assess the relationship between allostatic load score and behavioral determinants of health (perceived stress, depression, and spiritual locus of health), controlling for age, income, and education level. Results: Regression model that included perceived stress, income, education, depression, spiritual locus of health, and age, found the main risk factor for higher allostatic load was low income level ( Discussion: Although no statistical significance was found in the relationship of the tested behavioral determinants of health and allostatic load, the significant association between low income and high allostatic load in this study of African-American women reinforces the known relationship of poverty and poor health outcomes in health disparities. Further investigation is needed to discover whether poverty mediates poor health or whether it is a proxy for experiences of poverty-related adversity, like childhood trauma, neighborhood poverty, and chronic stress.