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Psychosom Med. 2017 Jan;79(1):101-111. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000350.

Perceived Ethnic Discrimination and the Metabolic Syndrome in Ethnic Minority Groups: The Healthy Life in an Urban Setting Study.

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From the Departments of Public Health (Ikram, Snijder, Agyemang, Stronks, Kunst) and Cardiology (Peters), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Department of Psychiatry (Schene), Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands; and Donders Institute for Brain (Schene), Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.



Ethnic differences in the metabolic syndrome could be explained by perceived ethnic discrimination (PED). It is unclear whether PED is associated with the metabolic syndrome. We assessed this association and quantified the contribution of PED to the metabolic syndrome.


Baseline data were used from the Healthy Life in an Urban Setting study collected in the Netherlands from 2011 to 2014. The population-based sample included South-Asian Surinamese, African Surinamese, Ghanaian, Turkish, and Moroccan participants (aged 18 to 70 years). PED was measured using the Everyday Discrimination Scale. The metabolic syndrome was determined according to the harmonized definition of the International Diabetes Federation, American Heart Association, and others. Logistic regression was used for analysis. population-attributable fraction was used to calculate the contribution of PED.


PED was positively associated with the metabolic syndrome in South-Asian Surinamese, African Surinamese, and Moroccan participants (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 1.13 [0.99-1.30], 1.15 [1.00-1.32], and 1.19 [1.03-1.38], respectively) after adjusting for potential confounders and mediators. No significant association was observed among Ghanaian and Turkish participants. For the individual components, the associations were statistically significant for blood pressure, fasting glucose, and waist circumference among Surinamese participants. PED was associated with dyslipidemia in Moroccan participants. The population-attributable fractions were 5% for South-Asian Surinamese and Moroccan participants, and 7% for African Surinamese participants.


We found a positive association of PED with the metabolic syndrome in some ethnic groups, with PED contributing around 5% to 7% to the metabolic syndrome among Surinamese and Moroccans. This suggests that PED might contribute to ethnic differences in the metabolic syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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