Using Allostatic Load to Validate Self-rated Health for Racial/Ethnic Groups in the United States

Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, Jeffrey T. Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study evaluates the validity of subjective health measurement for racial/ethnic comparisons in the United States, by assessing whether allostatic load (AL) is equally associated with poor/fair self-rated health (SRH) for different racial/ethnic groups. This study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey (NHANES) for 2006–2010. Multivariable logistic regression models were fit and stratified by race/ethnicity to study the association between AL and poor/fair SRH. Higher levels of AL were associated with higher odds of reporting poor/fair SRH. However, this association differs by race/ethnicity. Analysis of interactions and racial/ethnic-stratified models suggest that AL is less associated with poor/fair SRH status for non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics populations. These results demonstrate that subjective health ratings potentially underestimate actual measures of biological health risk, especially for racial/ethnic minorities. As a result, population-based assessments of racial/ethnic health disparities based on SRH may be significantly understated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBiodemography and Social Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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