241066 Adolescent and Young Adult Allostatic Load in the U.S.: Does the Dysregulation Process Start Early?

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:30 AM

Bethany Wexler Rainisch, MPH , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Dawn M. Upchurch, PhD , School of Public Health Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
The present study examines allostatic load among a nationally representative sample of adolescents and young adults. Allostatic load is a relatively new concept, and focuses on the collective overall risks that result from the wear and tear the body experiences over time. Early youth risk exposure has been associated with increased morbidity and premature mortality later in life, yet most studies examine allostatic load among older populations. The current study assesses 2,077 adolescents and young adults, age 12-25, in the 2007 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This study attempts to uncover the allostatic load process by assessing whether adolescents and young adults experience allostatic load at a young age. Individual biomarkers such as systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, waist-to-hip ratio, glycosylated hemoglobin, and C-reactive protein are used to determine cumulative physiological dysregulation. Latent variable modeling and bootstrapping techniques are done to determine weights of individual biomarkers in order to create an allostatic load index. Further analysis of gender and racial differences in allostatic load among the adolescent and young adult population are determined based on predicted probabilities. Preliminary findings show that among adolescents and young adults, females and African Americans have a higher probability of having an allostatic load score of 4 or higher. Evidence was found that racial and gender inequalities in health exist across a range of biological systems, even among adolescent and young adult populations.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health biology
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the probability of adolescents and young adults having an allostatic load score. 2. Describe the difference in allostatic load score among adolescent and young adult racial and ethnic groups, as well as by gender. 3. Discuss racial and gender inequalities in health across a range of biological systems. 4. Explain the process of cumulative physiological dysregulation, and whether this process starts during adolescence or young adulthood. 5. Discuss possible implications of findings with regard to public health practice and health promotion among younger populations.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Health Indices

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a graduate student interested in the healt of adolescents and young adults, and am working on a dissertation using nationally representative data to determine the association between psychosocial factors and allostatic load among younger populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.