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Int J Eat Disord. 1996 Apr;19(3):275-8.

Racial differences in body type preferences of men for women.

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  • 1University of Maryland Baltimore County, Department of Psychology 21228-5398, USA.



Research indicates that African-American women have a significantly higher prevalence of obesity, a markedly lower prevalence of eating disorders, and greater satisfaction with their bodies than Euro-American women. One potential contributing explanation for this difference may be differential body type preferences between the men in the two communities.


Sixty-three African-American and 116 Euro-American men were asked to rank, in order of attractiveness, a series of silhouettes of women of varying sizes. Additionally, they answered questions concerning their current relationships.


Euro-Americans chose significantly thinner figures, and reported wishing their girlfriends would lose weight significantly more often than African-Americans.


These differential preferences may translate into greater pressure within the Euro-American community for women to be thin than in the African-American community; however, a small effect size suggests that factors other than race contribute to men's body type preferences.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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