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Int J Prev Med. 2015 Oct 19;6:102. doi: 10.4103/2008-7802.167616. eCollection 2015.

Mediating Effect of Perceived Overweight on the Association between Actual Obesity and Intention for Weight Control; Role of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA ; Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
2
Medicine and Health Promotion Institute, Tehran, Iran ; Universal Network for Health Information Dissemination and Exchange, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Although obesity is expected to be associated with intention to reduce weight, this effect may be through perceived overweight. This study tested if perceived overweight mediates the association between actual obesity and intention to control weight in groups based on the intersection of race and gender. For this purpose, we compared Non-Hispanic White men, Non-Hispanic White women, African American men, African American women, Caribbean Black men, and Caribbean Black women.

METHODS:

National Survey of American Life, 2001-2003 included 5,810 American adults (3516 African Americans, 1415 Caribbean Blacks, and 879 Non-Hispanic Whites). Weight control intention was entered as the main outcome. In the first step, we fitted race/gender specific logistic regression models with the intention for weight control as outcome, body mass index as predictor and sociodemographics as covariates. In the next step, to test mediation, we added perceived weight to the model.

RESULTS:

Obesity was positively associated with intention for weight control among all race × gender groups. Perceived overweight fully mediated the association between actual obesity and intention for weight control among Non-Hispanic White women, African American men, and Caribbean Black men. The mediation was only partial for Non-Hispanic White men, African American women, and Caribbean Black women.

CONCLUSIONS:

The complex relation between actual weight, perceived weight, and weight control intentions depends on the intersection of race and gender. Perceived overweight plays a more salient role for Non-Hispanic White women and Black men than White men and Black women. Weight loss programs may benefit from being tailored based on race and gender. This finding also sheds more light to the disproportionately high rate of obesity among Black women in US.

KEYWORDS:

Blacks; gender; obesity; perceived overweight; race; weight control

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