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J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 Apr;93(4):416-22.

Weight-related attitudes and behaviors of black women.

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Center for Biostatistics and Epidemiology, College of Medicine, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey 17033.


Weight-related attitudes and practices of women who attended health department clinics or who worked for a health and human services agency were assessed by means of an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire. Black women who were 25 to 64 years old and were not pregnant or had not given birth within the past year were included in this analysis (n = 500). The overweight women perceived themselves as being overweight. They were less likely to be satisfied with their weight and more likely to have dieted and to be currently dieting than nonoverweight women. Awareness of obesity-related health risks was high, but the perceived psychosocial consequences of being overweight were somewhat limited. Approximately 40% of moderately and severely overweight women considered their figures to be attractive or very attractive, which indicates a relatively positive body image. The overweight women were less likely to exercise, less likely to skip meals, and more likely to eat between meals than the nonoverweight women. Among the subset who had ever attempted to lose weight (n = 368), the overweight women were significantly more likely to have regained all or more of the weight lost during their most recent attempt. The findings of this exploratory survey suggest that although overweight black women are weight conscious, the absence of strong negative social pressure combined with a relatively positive body image may limit the extent to which weight loss efforts are sustained. Findings about eating and exercise patterns suggest some specific factors that may interfere with the effectiveness of weight control among black women.

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