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Ongoing Exposure to Stressors Harms Health

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 30, 2020 -- Chronic exposure to stressors leads to an erosion of health, as measured by allostatic load, which is particularly severe among foreign-born Black and Latino individuals, according to a study published online Dec. 14 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Brent A. Langellier, Ph.D., from Drexel University in Philadelphia, and colleagues used data from 26,818 adult participants in the 2005 to 2018 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to examine how allostatic load changes over time. The analysis included 10 cardiovascular, metabolic, and immunologic risk measures.

The researchers found that allostatic load increased over time across all groups. Among U.S.-born Black women, U.S.-born Latino men, and foreign-born Latino men, the difference between the first and last survey cycle was greatest. Among foreign-born Black people of both genders and foreign-born Latina women, aging gradients in allostatic load were steepest. Aging gradients were flattest among U.S.-born and foreign-born White people.

"Policies should seek to reduce exposure to structural and environmental risks and to ensure equitable opportunities to achieve optimal health among racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants," the authors write.

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Posted: December 2020

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