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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 98-105

Ethnic inequalities in cardiovascular disease risk: Strength of ethnic identity predicts obesity prevalence in late adolescence


1 Collaboration for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia; Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Science, Providence Healthcare Research Institute, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
2 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
3 Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Science, Providence Healthcare Research Institute, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC, Canada
4 Department of Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
5 Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Science, Providence Healthcare Research Institute, St. Paul's Hospital; Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health Practice (EBPHP), School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Annalijn I Conklin
University of British Columbia, 2405 Westbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/hm.hm_36_19

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Background: Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death globally, and a major risk factor is obesity in early age groups. Obesity in children and youth is a growing public health concern, and inequalities exist across social groups. Evidence on ethnic disparities in obesity risk is mixed, and little is known about ethnicity and obesity in late adolescence. Moreover, broad ethnic identity categories may be less informative for understanding disparities in obesity risk than the psychosocial process of ethnic identity development during this unique developmental period. Differences in the salience of ethnic identity seem particularly relevant to examining obesity inequalities in multicultural, multigenerational settings. Aims and Objectives: To examine the gender-specific associations of strength of ethnic identity with the obesity prevalence in ethnically diverse urban youth from British Columbia (BC), Canada. Materials and Methods: Cross-sectional study of an adolescent cohort with self-reported data on ethnic identity, sociodemographics, height and weight using regression modeling with interaction terms. Results: Above-average ethnic identity was associated with the higher obesity prevalence in young men only. Multivariable-adjusted models showed that young men reporting the strongest ethnic identity had 57% higher odds of being obese (odds ratio 1.57 [95% confidence interval: 1.05–2.37]). Conclusion: Associations varied by gender and ethnic group: stronger ethnic identity was significantly associated with the higher obesity prevalence in young men from Asian and Indigenous cultural heritage, whereas young women from Indigenous backgrounds with stronger ethnic identity showed a nonsignificant lower obesity prevalence. Future research directions and public health program implications are discussed.


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