European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 349–355 | Cite as

Race- and sex-specific associations of parental education with insulin resistance in middle-aged participants: the CARDIA study

  • Teresa Tamayo
  • David R. JacobsJr.
  • Klaus Strassburger
  • Guido Giani
  • Teresa E. Seeman
  • Karen Matthews
  • Jeffrey M. Roseman
  • Wolfgang Rathmann


Low childhood socioeconomic status (SES) has been linked with insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in adulthood. Our aim was to examine if maternal and paternal education, as indicators of childhood SES, equally contributed to increased HOMA-IR in later life. Of 5,115 adults from the Coronary Artery Disease Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study aged 18–30 years in 1985–1986, data on 1,370 females and 1,060 males with baseline and 20 year follow-up data were used to estimate associations of maternal and paternal education with HOMA-IR, adjusting for personal education, BMI, lipids, blood pressure, and lifestyle factors. Parental education was determined as high with ≥12 years of schooling and classified as both high, only mother high, only father high, both low education. Distinct combinations of maternal and paternal education were associated with HOMA-IR across race and sex groups. Lowest year 20 HOMA-IR in European American (EA) females occurred when both parents were better educated, but was highest when only the father had better education. HOMA-IR was lowest in African American (AA) participants when the mother was better educated but the father had less education, but was highest when both parents were better educated. Parental education was unrelated to HOMA-IR in EA males. Associations of parental education with HOMA-IR are seen in AA females, AA males, and EA females but not in EA males. The distinct combinations of parental education and their associations with HOMA-IR especially in AA participants need to be addressed in further research on health disparities.


Childhood socioeconomic status Parental education Diabetes Insulin resistance Race–sex-differences 



African American


European American


Socioeconomic status


Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance


Standard deviation multiplier



The work is part of the Diabetes Competence Network including the DIAB-CORE (Collaborative Research of Epidemiologic Studies) Consortium which is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. Further support was obtained from The German Federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Innovation, Science, Research and Technology of the state North Rhine Westphalia (Düsseldorf, Germany). The CARDIA Study was supported by NHLBI contracts N01-HC-48047, N01-HC-49048, N01-HC-48049, N01-HC-48050, and N01-HC-9505.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 178 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Teresa Tamayo
    • 1
  • David R. JacobsJr.
    • 2
    • 3
  • Klaus Strassburger
    • 1
  • Guido Giani
    • 1
  • Teresa E. Seeman
    • 4
  • Karen Matthews
    • 5
  • Jeffrey M. Roseman
    • 6
  • Wolfgang Rathmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes CenterLeibniz Center for Diabetes Research at Heinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public HealthUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition, School of MedicineUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  4. 4.Division of Geriatrics, Geffen School of MedicineUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.UAB School of Public HealthBirminghamUSA

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