UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications


Perceived weight discrimination in the CARDIA study: differences by race, sex, and weight status

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



African Americans; Body Mass Index; Cohort Studies; Coronary Artery Disease; European Continental Ancestry Group; Female; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Middle Aged; Obesity; Overweight; Prevalence; Risk Factors; Severity of Illness Index; Sex Factors; *Social Discrimination; *Social Perception; United States


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Health Services Research | Public Health


OBJECTIVE: To examine self-reported weight discrimination and differences based on race, sex, and BMI in a biracial cohort of community-based middle-aged adults.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Participants (3,466, mean age = 50 years, mean BMI = 30 kg/m(2)) of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study who completed the 25-year examination of this epidemiological investigation in 2010-2011 were reported. The sample included normal weight, overweight, and obese participants. CARDIA participants are distributed into four race-sex groups, with about half being African-American and half White. Participants completed a self-reported measure of weight discrimination.

RESULTS: Among overweight/obese participants, weight discrimination was lowest for White men (12.0%) and highest for White women (30.2%). The adjusted odds ratio (95% CI) for weight discrimination in those with class 2/3 obesity (BMI > /= 35 kg/m(2)) versus the normal-weight was most pronounced: African American men, 4.59 (1.71-12.34); African American women, 7.82 (3.57-17.13); White men, 6.99 (2.27-21.49); and White women, 18.60 (8.97-38.54). Being overweight (BMI = 25-29.9 kg/m(2)) vs. normal weight was associated with increased discrimination in White women only: 2.10 (1.11-3.96).

CONCLUSIONS: Novel evidence for a race-sex interaction on perceived weight discrimination, with White women more likely to report discrimination at all levels of overweight and obesity was provided. Pychosocial mechanisms responsible for these differences deserve exploration.

DOI of Published Version



Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Feb;22(2):530-6. doi: 10.1002/oby.20438. Epub 2013 Jun 13. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)

PubMed ID