Associations between weight discrimination and metabolic health: A cross sectional analysis of middle aged adults.

Pubmed ID: 35227638

Journal: Obesity research & clinical practice

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Affiliation: School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, York University, 4700 Keele St, Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3, Canada. Electronic address:

MeSH Terms: Humans, Middle Aged, Body Mass Index, Young Adult, Cross-Sectional Studies, Obesity, Overweight, Obesity, Abdominal, Metabolic Syndrome

Authors: Ardern CI, Kuk JL, Adil O

Cite As: Adil O, Kuk JL, Ardern CI. Associations between weight discrimination and metabolic health: A cross sectional analysis of middle aged adults. Obes Res Clin Pract 2022 Mar-Apr;16(2):151-157. Epub 2022 Feb 26.



BACKGROUND: Concurrent with the recent rise in overweight and obesity, concerns with weight discrimination have arisen. Individuals who have experienced weight discrimination report a host of deteriorations related to physical and psychological health, which may co-exist with behaviours such as increased food consumption and decreases in physical activity that make weight management difficult. What remains less clear, however, is the extent to which metabolic health may be specifically affected, and how this may vary by setting and perceived intensity of the lifetime history of weight discrimination. METHOD: To address this, a secondary data analysis was performed on 1365 participants from year 25 of the Coronary Artery Disease in Young Adults (CARDIA) study who were living with overweight and obesity. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses were performed on the presence of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and abdominal obesity, as well as their experience of the weight discrimination. RESULTS: Prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and abdominal obesity was higher among those reporting low and high stress weight discrimination compared to those with no history of weight discrimination. In the adjusted analyses, weight discrimination was associated with a 65% greater likelihood for having metabolic syndrome, 85% greater likelihood of diabetes, and between a 2.5- and 3.9-times greater likelihood of abdominal obesity for low and high stress experiences, respectively. CONCLUSION: Exposure to weight discrimination may worsen metabolic health, as characterized by higher rates of metabolic syndrome and abdominal obesity. These associations may be greater with levels of stress experienced from weight discrimination. Further longitudinal work is necessary to understand the temporal sequence, time lag, and any possible critical periods for weight discrimination on metabolic health.