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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2019 Mar 11. doi: 10.1007/s00127-019-01682-1. [Epub ahead of print]

Differential associations between psychosocial stress and obesity among Ghanaians in Europe and in Ghana: findings from the RODAM study.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Department of Non-communicable Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
4
Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
5
School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
6
MKPGMS-Uganda Martyrs University, Kampala, Uganda.
7
Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.
8
Department of Molecular Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Arthur-Scheunert-Allee 114-116, 14558, Nuthetal, Germany.
9
Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
10
Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, DZHK (German Centre for Cardiovascular Research), Partner Site Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
11
Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), Charite Universitätsmedizin Berlin Charite Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), Berlin, Germany.
12
Julius Global Health, Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
13
Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
14
Department of Public Health, Amsterdam Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. c.o.agyemang@amc.uva.nl.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Psychosocial stress is associated with obesity in some populations, but it is unclear whether the association is related to migration. This study explored associations between psychosocial stress and obesity among Ghanaian migrants in Europe and non-migrant Ghanaians in Ghana.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional data from the RODAM study were used, including 5898 Ghanaians residing in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, rural Ghana, and urban Ghana. Perceived discrimination, negative life events and stress at work or at home were examined in relation to body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC). Linear regression analyses were performed separately for migrants and non-migrants stratified by sex.

RESULTS:

Perceived discrimination was not associated with BMI and WC in both migrants and non-migrants. However, negative life events were positively associated with BMI (β = 0.78, 95% CI 0.34-1.22) and WC (β = 1.96, 95% CI 0.79-3.12) among male Ghanaian migrants. Similarly, stress at work or at home was positively associated with BMI (β = 0.28, 95% CI 0.00-0.56) and WC (β = 0.84, 95% CI 0.05-1.63) among male Ghanaian migrants. Among non-migrant Ghanaians, in contrast, stress at work or at home was inversely associated with BMI and WC in both males (β = - 0.66, 95% CI - 1.03 to - 0.28; β = - 1.71 95% CI - 2.69 to - 0.73, respectively) and females (β = - 0.81, 95% CI - 1.20 to - 0.42; β = - 1.46, 95% CI - 2.30 to - 0.61, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

Negative life events and stress at work or at home are associated with increased body weight among male Ghanaians in European settings, whereas stress at work or at home is associated with reduced body weight among Ghanaians in Ghana. More work is needed to understand the underlying factors driving these differential associations to assist prevention efforts.

KEYWORDS:

BMI; Ghana; Life events; Migration; Stress

PMID:
30859237
DOI:
10.1007/s00127-019-01682-1
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