Experiences of racial discrimination and cardiometabolic risk among Australian children

Naomi Priest, Mandy Truong, Shiau Chong, Yin Paradies, Tania L. King, Anne Kavanagh, Tim Olds, Jeffrey M. Craig, David Burgner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardiometabolic disease is a leading cause of adult morbidity and mortality globally. There is considerable evidence that childhood adversity is associated with markers of cardiometabolic disease risk in childhood, including obesity, blood pressure trajectories, and chronic inflammation. Experiences of racial discrimination may be an important, yet under explored, form of childhood adversity influencing childhood cardiometabolic risk. This study aimed to examine associations between self-reported racial discrimination and cardiometabolic risk markers among children. A total of 124 children (73 female) aged 11.4 years (SD 0.71) participated in the study. Most children (n = 79) identified as being from an Indigenous or an ethnic minority background. Markers of cardiometabolic risk were BMI, waist circumference, weight height ratio, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and five inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein (CRP), Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α). Results showed that two or more reported experiences of racial discrimination were associated with increased BMI z-score (Beta 0.58, 95% CI 0.18, 0.99), waist circumference (Beta 4.91 cm, 95% CI 0.71, 9.1), systolic blood pressure (Beta 2.07 mmHg, 95% CI 0.43, 3.71) and IL-6 (Beta 0.13, 95% CI 0.00, 0.27) and marginally associated with TNF-α (Beta 0.22, 95% CI −0.09, 0.54) after adjusting for socio-demographic covariates. Findings from this study suggest the need to address racism and racial discrimination as important social determinants of cardiometabolic risk and of the inequitable burden of cardiometabolic disease experienced by those from Indigenous and minoritized ethnic backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)660-665
Number of pages6
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


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