Health disparities in endocrine disorders: Biological, clinical, and nonclinical factors - An endocrine society scientific statement

Sherita Hill Golden, Arleen Brown, Jane A. Cauley, Marshall H. Chin, Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, Catherine Kim, Julie Ann Sosa, Anne E. Sumner, Blair Anton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim was to provide a scholarly review of the published literature on biological, clinical, and nonclinical contributors to race/ethnic and sex disparities in endocrine disorders and to identify current gaps in knowledge as a focus for future research needs. Participants in Development of Scientific Statement: The Endocrine Society's Scientific Statement Task Force (SSTF) selected the leader of the statement development group (S.H.G.). She selected an eight-member writing group with expertise in endocrinology and health disparities, which was approved by the Society. All discussions regarding the scientific statement content occurred via teleconference or written correspondence. No funding was provided to any expert or peer reviewer, and all participants volunteered their time to prepare this Scientific Statement. Evidence: The primary sources of data on global disease prevalence are from the World Health Organization. A comprehensive literature search of PubMed identified U.S. population-based studies. Search strategies combining Medical Subject Headings terms and keyword terms and phrases defined two concepts: 1) racial, ethnic, and sex differences including specific populations; and 2) the specific endocrine disorderorcondition.The search identified systematic reviews, meta-analyses, largecohort and population based studies, and original studies focusingonthe prevalenceanddeterminants of disparities in endocrine disorders. Consensus Process: The writing group focused on population differences in the highly prevalent endocrine diseases of type 2 diabetes mellitus and related conditions (prediabetes and diabetic complications), gestational diabetes, metabolicsyndromewithafocusonobesityanddyslipidemia, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency. Authors reviewed and synthesized evidence in their areas of expertise. The final statement incorporated responses to several levels of review: 1) comments of the SSTF and the Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee; and 2) suggestions offered by the Council and members of The Endocrine Society. Conclusions: Several themes emerged in the statement, including a need for basic science, populationbased, translational and health services studies to explore underlying mechanisms contributing to endocrine health disparities. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks have worse outcomes and highermortalityfromcertaindisordersdespitehavingalower(e.g. macrovascularcomplicationsofdiabetes mellitus and osteoporotic fractures) or similar (e.g. thyroid cancer) incidence of these disorders. Obesity is an important contributor to diabetes risk in minority populations and to sex disparities in thyroid cancer, suggesting that population interventions targeting weight loss may favorably impact a number of endocrine disorders. There are important implications regarding the definition of obesity in different race/ethnic groups, including potential underestimation of disease risk in Asian-Americans and overestimation in non-Hispanic blackwomen. Ethnic-specific cut-points for central obesity should be determined so that clinicians can adequately assess metabolic risk. There is little evidence that genetic differences contribute significantly to race/ethnic disparities in the endocrine disorders examined. Multilevel interventions have reduced disparities in diabetes care, and these successes can be modeled to design similar interventions for other endocrine diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1579-E1639
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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