Document Type



Dieting, Ethnicity, Help-Seeking, Obesity, Treatment-Seeking


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Objectives: The purpose of the present study was to examine whether there are overall differences in help-seeking, in specific weight control behaviors used, and in predictors of seeking professional help for weight loss between African American and Caucasian women.
Design: Cross-sectional study
Setting: Participants were recruited from community sources in Philadelphia.
Participants: One hundred twenty female participants were studied. Of these, 58% were African American.
Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed a packet of measures assessing weight control behaviors, body mass index, co-morbid medical conditions, socioeconomic status, disordered eating behavior, and body image.
Results: Caucasian women were significantly more likely to be classified as high help-seekers than were African American women, χ2=4.27, p=.04. Caucasian women were more likely to use commercial weight loss programs, χ2=4.25, p=.04, while African American women were more likely to try herbal supplements for weight control, χ2=6.21, p=.01. Higher scores on a measure of body image, responsiveness to the food environment, and the disinhibition and hunger subscales of the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) predicted seeking professional help for Caucasian women only.
Conclusions: The results indicate that African American and Caucasian women differ in overall weight-control efforts as well as in specific behaviors used. Furthermore, interactions were found between some factors associated with help-seeking and ethnicity. A better understanding of how available programs could be augmented to address the needs of African American and other minority groups is necessary.

Article Number


Publication Date

Spring 2007

Peer Reviewed



APA Citation: Annunziato, R. A. & Lowe, M. R. (2007). A comparison of weight-control behaviors in African American and Caucasian women. Ethnicity & Disease, 17(Spring), 262-267.

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