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Ethn Dis. 2007 Winter;17(1):1-5.

Racial influences associated with weight-related beliefs in African American and Caucasian women.

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Department of Nutrition Sciences, Division of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


This study examines African American and Caucasian women's perception of how race affects their weight. Structured focus groups that used the nominal group technique (NGT) were conducted with four groups of African American women (n = 30) and four groups of Caucasian women (n = 30). Participants generated responses to the question, "How does being a Black/White woman affect your weight?" The African American groups generated 48 unique ideas, including unhealthy food preparation, poor food selection habits, lack of exercise, stress, increased risk of chronic diseases, and associated medical costs; the Caucasian groups produced 32 responses, including distorted expectations of perfect body type, success depended on thinness and beauty, social pressures, media, and men's preferences. Results suggest that the African American women focused on food choices and health consequences while the Caucasian women emphasized body size and aesthetics. The observed differences support a need for culturally specific interventions that promote good eating patterns and healthy body shapes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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