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International Journal of Chronic Diseases
Volume 2016, Article ID 5862026, 7 pages
Research Article

COPD in a Population-Based Sample of Never-Smokers: Interactions among Sex, Gender, and Race

1Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
2Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Received 18 April 2016; Revised 15 September 2016; Accepted 19 October 2016

Academic Editor: Sreekumar Pillai

Copyright © 2016 Esme Fuller-Thomson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This observational epidemiological study investigates sex/gender and racial differences in prevalence of COPD among never-smokers. Data were derived from the 2012 Center for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The sample consisted of 129,535 non-Hispanic whites and blacks 50 years of age and older who had never smoked. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were conducted, with the latter using a series of logistic regression models predicting COPD status by sex/gender and race, adjusting for age, height, socioeconomic position (SEP), number of household members, marital status, and health insurance coverage. Black women have the highest prevalence of COPD (7.0%), followed by white women (5.2%), white men (2.9%), and black men (2.4%). Women have significantly higher odds of COPD than men. When adjusting for SEP, black and white women have comparably higher odds of COPD than white men (black women OR = 1.66; 99% CI = 1.46, 1.88; white women OR = 1.49; 99% CI = 1.37, 1.63), while black men have significantly lower odds (OR = 0.62; 99% CI = 0.49, 0.79). This research provides evidence that racial inequalities in COPD (or lack thereof) may be related to SEP.