Latinos in the US carry a disproportionate burden of type-2 diabetes. Research has implicated life course socioeconomic position as a major factor in the development of chronic diseases, such as type-2 diabetes;yet most evidence is limited to non-Hispanic White populations. We hypothesize that the large disparities in type-2 diabetes among Latinos reflects the joint effect of intergenerational transmission of socioeconomic factors, cultural characteristics, behaviors, biology, and other risk factors accumulating over the life course. The experience of Latinos in the US represents an especially fruitful context in which to investigate the influence of life course socioeconomic and cultural resources in relation to type-2 diabetes. In addition to being the fastest growing minority population with high rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes, the experience of Latinos is one that includes first generation immigrants with limited education and job skills, and later generations who were born and raised in the US showing varying levels of acculturation and assimilation, behavioral change, and socioeconomic advancement. With these unique considerations in mind, the present study seeks to: (1) Examine the impact of life course socioeconomic position on type-2 diabetes among Latinos, (2) Assess whether acculturation modifies the impact of life course socioeconomic position on type-2 diabetes among Latinos, and 3) Examine whether metabolic, immune, and inflammatory markers related to health behaviors and stress mediate the relationships between life course socioeconomic position, acculturation and type-2 diabetes among Latinos. The proposed research activity will constitute the first systematic attempt to assess the unique and synergistic contributions of life course socioeconomic position and acculturation on type-2 diabetes among Latinos. By assessing life course exposures, this project provides an unprecedented opportunity to identify targets for early intervention for reducing the heavy burden of type-2 diabetes among Latinos in the US. More broadly, the proposed research may uncover crucial life course socioeconomic and cultural patterning of risk factors or health promoting characteristics that may also benefit other race/ethnic minorities disproportionately living in poverty and suffering from type-2 diabetes.
The proposed study will assess the impact of life course socioeconomic position and acculturation on type 2 diabetes and examine potential biological mediators, including inflammation. The findings from this study will have important public health implications, including identification of critical biological mechanisms mediating the effects of life course sociocultural contexts on type 2 diabetes across several generations of US Latinos.
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