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BMJ Open. 2012; 2(5): e001315.
Published online 2012 October 6. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001315
PMCID: PMC3488758

A cross-sectional study of the association of age, race and ethnicity, and body mass index with sex steroid hormone marker profiles among men in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III)

Abstract

Objectives

Since sex hormone markers are metabolically linked, examining sex steroid hormones singly may account for inconsistent findings by age, race/ethnicity and body mass index (BMI) across studies. First, these markers were statistically combined into profiles to account for the metabolic relationship between markers. Then, the relationships between sex steroid hormone profiles and age, race/ethnicity and BMI were explored in multinomial logistic regression models.

Design

Cross-sectional survey.

Setting

The US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).

Participants

1538 Men, >17 years.

Primary outcome measure

Sex hormone profiles.

Results

Cluster analysis was used to identify four statistically determined profiles with Blom-transformed T, E, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and 3-α diol G. We used these four profiles with multinomial logistic regression models to examine differences by race/ethnicity, age and BMI. Mexican American men >50 years were associated with the profile that had lowest T, E and 3-α diol G levels compared to other profiles (p<0.05). Non-Hispanic Black, overweight (25–29.9 kg/m2) and obese (>30 kg/m2) men were most likely to be associated with the cluster with the lowest SHBG (p<0.05).

Conclusion

The associations of sex steroid hormone profiles by race/ethnicity are novel, while the findings by age and BMI groups are largely consistent with observations from single hormone studies. Future studies should validate these hormone profile groups and investigate these profiles in relation to chronic diseases and certain cancers.

Keywords: Epidemiology

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