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Relationship between perceived stress and dietary and activity patterns in older adults participating in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study

TitleRelationship between perceived stress and dietary and activity patterns in older adults participating in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLaugero, KD, Falcon, LM, Tucker, KL
JournalAppetiteAppetite
Volume56
Pagination194-204
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number1095-8304 (Electronic)<br/>0195-6663 (Linking)
Accession Number21070827
KeywordsAged, Analysis of Variance, Body Mass Index, Boston, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/ethnology/psychology, Diet/ethnology/ psychology, Dietary Sucrose/administration & dosage, Exercise/ psychology, Fatty Acids, Hispanic Americans/ psychology, Humans, Hydrocortisone/ urine, Insulin/ blood, Linear Models, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity/ethnology/psychology, Perception, Puerto Rico/ethnology, Stress, Psychological/ ethnology, Women
AbstractPrevious research supports a relationship between psychological stress and chronic disease in Puerto Rican adults living in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Stress may affect health by influencing dietary and physical activity patterns. Therefore, perceived stress and two hypothesized mediators of stress-related food intake, insulin and cortisol, were examined for possible associations with dietary and activity patterns in >1300 Puerto Ricans (aged 45-75 years; 70% women) living in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Data were analyzed using multiple linear regression and ANCOVA. Greater perceived stress was associated with lower fruit, vegetable, and protein intake, greater consumption of salty snacks, and lower participation in physical activity. Stress was associated with higher intake of sweets, particularly in those with type 2 diabetes. Cortisol and stress were positively associated in those without diabetes. Cortisol was associated with higher intake of saturated fat and, in those with diabetes, sweet foods. Independent of diabetes, perceived stress was associated with higher circulating insulin and BMI. Our findings support a link between stress, cortisol, and dietary and activity patterns in this population. For high-sugar foods, this relationship may be particularly important in those with type 2 diabetes. Longitudinal research to determine causal pathways for these identified associations is warranted.