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Ann Hum Biol. 2014 Sep-Oct;41(5):428-35. doi: 10.3109/03014460.2014.882411. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Obesity and body size perceptions in a Spanish Roma population.

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1
Department of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) , Bilbao , Spain.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Roma people are particularly vulnerable to developing overweight and obesity. Self-perception of body image may influence the prevalence of obesity in this ethnic minority.

AIM:

The objectives of this study are to estimate the prevalence of obesity, to analyse body size perceptions and preferences and to assess the relationship between body size perceptions and obesity in the Roma population.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

The analyses were carried out on 372 men, women and children from the Roma population residing in the Greater Bilbao region (Basque Country, Spain). In adults, a standard figural scale was used to analyse body size perceptions and preferences in this ethnic minority.

RESULTS:

Overall 51.7% of adult and 24.4% of minor Roma individuals were obese. Both Roma men and women had inaccurate self-perceptions of their body size. Significant differences on body size perceptions were detected based on age, sex, nutritional status and socioeconomic characteristics.

CONCLUSION:

This Roma population presents one of the highest rates of obesity worldwide. Although a certain awareness of the correct weight status was appreciated, the inability of Roma individuals to see themselves as overweight or obese may be a significant factor on the high prevalence of obesity in this population.

KEYWORDS:

Body image; body mass index; ethnic minority; obesity

PMID:
24564793
DOI:
10.3109/03014460.2014.882411
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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