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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 May;16(5):992-1001. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.20. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

Self-efficacy and dietary fat reduction behaviors in obese African-American and white mothers.

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  • 1Michigan State University College of Nursing, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.


This study examined the influence of weight management and education on five types of fat reduction behaviors mediated through three task-specific domains of self-efficacy among young, low-income obese African-American and white mothers. It also investigated interaction of race with the relationships between weight management, education, self-efficacy, and fat reduction behaviors. A sample of obese African-American and white mothers was recruited from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Wisconsin. Participants reported their weight management status, education, self-efficacy for eating low-fat food, and fat reduction behaviors. For both racial groups, weight management status predicted low-fat food substitution and meat modification behaviors; education predicted meat modification behavior. Three task-specific domains of self-efficacy (negative mood, positive mood, and food availability) predicted different types of fat reduction behaviors and differed by race. Weight management influenced behaviors of low-fat food substitution, meat modification, and fried-food avoidance, mediated partially through self-efficacies of negative mood (African Americans), positive mood (African Americans, whites), and food availability (African Americans). Race affected the relationships between weight management, education, three task-specific domains of self-efficacy, and five types of fat reduction behaviors. Self-efficacies operated differentially for African Americans and whites. Thus, strategies to address specific fat reduction behaviors have the potential to be more effective when tailored to specific individual characteristics such as racial background, history of weight management strategies and task-specific domains of self-efficacy.

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