The Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study: rationale and design

Emma C. Manuel, Torie C. Plowden, Felix M. Valbuena, Richard L. Bryce, Audrey A. Barick, Arthi Ramakrishnan, Mercedes R. Carnethon, Lisa M. Neff, Donna D. Baird, Erica E. Marsh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Uterine leiomyomas, commonly known as fibroids, are benign tumors in postmenarchal females. By the age of 35 years, approximately 30% of females will have fibroids, and by the age of 50 years, the prevalence approaches 70% with some studies reporting >85% prevalence in African American females. Previous studies evaluating the prevalence of fibroids have largely relied on self-reported fibroid diagnoses, which could have falsely underestimated prevalence because many females with fibroids are asymptomatic. Despite known differences in fibroid prevalence by race, there are very limited data on fibroid prevalence by ethnicity. The Latino population is the largest ethnic minority in the United States, yet there is no large study that utilizes ultrasound to confirm the presence of fibroids in Latina/Latinx females. In addition, fibroids have been associated with obesity and with diabetes mellitus, but the data have been inconsistent and at times conflicting. Objective: The Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study was designed to quantify the prevalence of uterine fibroids among Latina/Latinx females and understand the relationships between obesity, glucose dysregulation, and fibroid prevalence and growth. This article presents the study's design and reports early enrollment data. Study Design: The Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study is a 5-year longitudinal cohort study based in Southeast Michigan with the goal of recruiting 600 Latina/Latinx females between the ages of 21 and 50 years. Given the recruitment goals, developing a respectful, transparent, and trusting relationship between the study investigators and the community was a major priority. Thus, a community-engaged research approach was utilized in the design of the Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study. A community advisory board containing community leaders, largely from the Latinx community, provided input and direction during the entirety of the Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study design and rollout process. A minimum of 3 visits (orientation and consent, baseline, follow-up) will be conducted for each participant, with baseline and follow-up visits approximately 18 to 30 months apart. At each visit, interviewer and self-administered surveys will assess sociodemographic factors, health behaviors, health history, and social determinants of health. In addition, participants undergo a pelvic ultrasound examination and biologic samples are collected. Results: Using community-engaged approaches, we have successfully enrolled 633 Latina/Latinx females. The mean participant age is 37.5±7.04 years. The mean body mass index is 30.0±6.54 kg/m2. First study visits have been initiated. Conclusion: The objective of the Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study is to address the knowledge gap regarding uterine fibroids in the Latina/Latinx population. The Environment, Leiomyomas, Latinas, and Adiposity Study will generate ultrasound-confirmed evidence of the prevalence and growth patterns of uterine fibroids in this specific population while also examining the associations between obesity and laboratory-confirmed glucose dysregulation with uterine fibroid prevalence and growth patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392.e1-392.e12
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Latinas/Latinx
  • cohort study
  • community advisory board
  • community engagement
  • glucose dysregulation
  • obesity
  • ultrasound
  • uterine fibroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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