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.
Annunziato, Rachel A.; Lee, Janet N.; and Lowe, Michael R., "A Comparison of Weight-Control Behaviors in African American and Caucasian Women" (2007). Psychology Faculty Publications. 11.