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Women Health. 2012;52(6):553-69. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2012.694404.

Evaluating race/ethnicity in moderating baseline cardiometabolic risk and body composition changes in North Carolina first-year college women.

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Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina 28223, USA.


The roles of race/ethnicity and geographical region in the context of first-year college weight gain remain largely under-examined. The present study evaluated whether race/ethnicity: (1) at baseline was associated with greater representation in cardiometabolic health risk categories for body mass index, percent body fat, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio in the full sample of 54 Black/African American and 80 White/European American first-year female undergraduates attending a North Carolina state university; and (2) moderated body composition changes between the beginning of the fall and spring semesters among the 83 participants who completed baseline and follow-up visits (N = 39 Black/African Americans). More Black/African Americans than White/European Americans had percent body fat values ≥32% at baseline; a greater proportion of White/European Americans than Black/African Americans had a waist-to-hip ratio >0.80. Among those who completed baseline and follow-up visits, White/European Americans had higher waist-to-hip ratios (unadjusted: p <0.01, adjusted for family income: p < 0.01) and waist circumferences (adjusted for family income: p < 0.05) at both time points. No strong moderating effects of race/ethnicity were detected. Preliminary results suggested that greater consideration of racial/ethnic indicators and potential regional variation in these biometric attributes among first-year college students is warranted.

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