Racial and Ethnic Profiles of Allostatic Load among Adult Women in the US: Findings from the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004

Laura Chyu, University of California, Los Angeles
Dawn Upchurch, University of California, Los Angeles

Allostatic load (AL) has been posited as one potential mechanism by which sociodemographic factors, such as race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES), impact physiological processes in the body’s systems and manifest as health disparities. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2004, we examine racial/ethnic variation in AL by SES and nativity status in a nationally representative sample of women 18 years and older (N=6256). We create AL measures using 10 biomarkers representing cardiovascular, immune, and metabolic system functioning. Mean AL scores by racial/ethnic, SES, and nativity groups are compared. Multivariate regression models are used to examine interactive effects between race/ethnicity and SES, and race/ethnicity and nativity on AL. This paper is the first to provide a descriptive profile of allostatic load specifically among adult women of all age groups, focusing on racial/ethnic patterns and identifying demographically important subgroups at high risk of having elevated cumulative biological risk.

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Presented in Poster Session 4