Discrimination, Weight, Old Age

May 19th, 2014 by MorganDowney Leave a reply »

Avid readers of the Downey Obesity Report may recall interesting research by Angelina Sutin and colleagues on personality aspects and obesity. Now, she has published a new study looking at multiple personal characteristics and their association with physical,emotional and cognitive health in older adults. Participants rated their everyday experiences with discrimination and attributed these experiences to eight personal characteristics (race, ancestry, sex, age, weight, physical disability, appearance, and sexual orientation) at two points in time. The results indicate that discrimination based on age, weight, physical disability and appearance were associated with poor subjective health, greater disease burden, lower life satisfaction and greater loneliness at both time points. Discrimination was generally unrelated to cognitive health. They concluded that the adverse effects of discrimination on physical and emotional health are not limited to young adulthood but continue into old age and are primarily driven but changeable characteristics (age and weight) versus fixed characteristics (race and sex). (One interesting finding was that the most consistent effect for race discrimination was found for cognitive health: White participants who perceived discrimination based on their race scored lower on mental status, while African Americans who perceived race discrimination scored higher.)


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