It Weigh(t)s on You: Everyday Discrimination and Adiposity Among Latinos

UMMS Affiliation

Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Behavioral Medicine | Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Health Psychology | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion | Race and Ethnicity


OBJECTIVE: Evidence suggests discrimination increases the risk of obesity. The biopsychosocial model of racism posits that psychological factors such as depressive symptoms may link experiences of perceived interpersonal discrimination to obesity. This study tested whether self-reported experiences of everyday discrimination were associated with adiposity indicators and whether depressive symptoms explained these associations.

METHODS: Cross-sectional survey data of 602 Latino adults living in Lawrence, Massachusetts, from the Latino Health and Well-being Project (2011-2013) were used. Participants completed questionnaires assessing perceived everyday discrimination and depressive symptoms. Anthropometric measures (i.e., BMI and waist circumference [WC]) were obtained by trained staff. Structural equation modeling was employed to test for direct and indirect effects of perceived everyday discrimination on adiposity.

RESULTS: Perceived everyday discrimination was directly and positively associated with higher BMI and WC, independent of sociodemographic factors, physical activity, and stressful life events. Perceived everyday discrimination was not indirectly associated with BMI and WC through depressive symptoms. However, perceived everyday discrimination was associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported everyday discrimination among Latino adults is associated with adiposity. Day-to-day interpersonal discrimination may be implicated in obesity disparities for Latino adults.

DOI of Published Version



Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Sep 3. doi: 10.1002/oby.22248. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID