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Female Obesity: Racial Differences
Comparison of Dieting and Weight Loss Habits of Black Dieters and White Dieters
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Obesity, Weight & Black Females

Weight-related attitudes and behaviors of females who diet to lose weight: a comparison of black dieters and white dieters.

Obesity is a significant health problem among black females in the United States. Black women are two to three times more likely than white women to be obese. The present study sought to examine race difference in attitudes and beliefs about dieting, motivations underlying dieting efforts, and actual dieting strategies and behaviors. To achieve this aim, a subset of female survey respondents was drawn from a pool of more than 20,000 subscribers to Consumer Reports. All survey respondents had made at least one dieting effort within 3 years of the time of the study. For this study, we used all black female respondents and a matched sample (i.e., matched on age, educational attainment, and personal income) of white women. Black females did weigh significantly more than Caucasian females, therefore, BMI was used as a covariate in all subsequent analyses. Black and white women were significantly different in a number of domains. Compared to white women, black women experienced less social pressure about their weight, initiated dieting later in life, and were significantly less likely to diet at each developmental milestone. However, the two groups of women did not differ in reasons for undertaking their most recent dieting efforts, or in the types of weight loss strategies they had employed. Nor were there differences between the black and white women in methods for coping responses with dietary relapse or in rates of disordered eating. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for both treatment and prevention of obesity in black women.

Source: Striegel-Moore RH, Wilfley DE, Caldwell MB, Needham ML, Brownell KD. Department of Psychology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, USA.

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