Latinos are disproportionately impacted by obesity and type 2 diabetes but remain underrepresented in biomedical research. Therefore, the purpose of this project was to develop a research registry and biorepository to examine cardiometabolic disease risk in the Latino community of Phoenix, Arizona. The overarching goal was to establish the research infrastructure that would encourage transdisciplinary research regarding the biocultural mechanisms of obesity-related health disparities and facilitate access to this research for the Latino community.
Prior to recruitment, key stakeholders from the local Latino community were engaged to develop a broad rapport within the community and seek advice regarding recruitment, enrollment, and follow-up. Self-identified community-dwelling Latinos underwent a comprehensive cardiometabolic health assessment that included anthropometrics, a fasting laboratory panel, and a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test with measures of insulin and glucose to estimate insulin action and secretion. Separate consent was requested for future contact and banking of serum, DNA, and RNA. Research collaborations were sought out based on the cultural and metabolic profile of participants, faculty research agendas, and the potential for generating hypotheses.
A total of 667 participants (20.4% children, and 79.6% adults) were enrolled with 97% consenting to the registry and 94% to banking of samples. The prevalence of overweight/obesity was 50% in children and 81% in adults. Nearly 20% of children and more than 45% of the adults exhibited some degree of hyperglycemia. To date, more than 15 research projects have been supported through this infrastructure and have included projects on the molecular biology of insulin resistance to the sociocultural determinants of health behaviors and outcomes.
The high prevalence of obesity and cardiometabolic disease risk factors coupled with the overwhelming majority of participants consenting to be re-contacted, highlights the importance of supporting research infrastructure to generate hypotheses about obesity-related health in Latinos. Future studies that stem from the initial project will likely advance the limited understanding regarding the biocultural determinants of health disparities in the Latino community.