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Study shows how discrimination hurts: lack of fair treatment leads to obesity issues
Date:4/12/2011

tly with this stress or if there are differences in how their bodies react."

Hunte focused on waist circumference - instead of the body mass index formula, which measures obesity based on height and weight - because abdominal fat is a better indicator of poor cardiovascular-related health outcomes than body mass index.

"Being fat is not healthy, but there are greater problems with individuals who are more pear shaped, meaning that fat builds up in their waist region, rather than someone whose fat is deposited throughout the body," Hunte said. "There is some indication that stressors, such as interpersonal discrimination, can concentrate fat around the midsection. We're not sure why, and more work needs to be done to understand this connection between behavior and physiology. How does what's above the skin affect what is taking place under the skin?"

People who reported ongoing perceptions of discrimination said they were treated with less courtesy than others, received poorer customer service or people acted as if they were afraid of them. The source of discrimination is not known, but Hunte did exempt individuals who reported that they felt discrimination due to their weight.

Hunte is planning to investigate this further by studying biomarkers, such as cortisol, which is a stress-induced hormone, in relationship to effects of discrimination.


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Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert
apatterson@purdue.edu
765-494-9723
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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