Objectives: We investigated whether faith was associated with a difference in time to incident metabolic syndrome (MetS) among midlife Hispanic women vs women of other ethnicities. Study design: The Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) is a community-based, longitudinal study of a cohort of midlife women. Social, demographic, psychosocial, anthropometric, medical, and physiological measures, and incident MetS were assessed in near-annual intervals using questionnaires and assays. Each participant answered key questions related to religion and meaning in her life. Differences in time to MetS were modeled by Hispanic ethnicity (vs. otherwise) among women reporting low and high levels of faith. Main outcome measure: Incident MetS in the 7 years after the SWAN baseline assessment. Results: Among 2371 women, average baseline age 46, Hispanic women (n = 168) were more likely to have higher perceived stress and financial strain than non-Hispanic women (n = 2203). Nevertheless, Hispanic women were far more likely than non-Hispanic women to report that faith brought them strength and comfort in times of adversity, that they prayed often, and that their faith was sustaining for them. Hispanic women had the highest incidence rate of MetS of any racial/ethnic group. However, among women with high levels of faith, the incidence rate of MetS was similar in the Hispanic and non-Hispanic groups. Conversely, among women with low levels of faith, Hispanic women had a faster progression to MetS than did non-Hispanic women. Conclusions: Faith might be associated with a different risk of MetS among women of Hispanic vs other ethnicities. Among women who are not part of a faith community, Hispanic ethnicity might be a risk factor for MetS.
- Metabolic syndrome
- Women's health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Obstetrics and Gynecology