What women want: understanding obesity and preferences for primary care weight reduction interventions among African-American and Caucasian women

J Natl Med Assoc. 2006 Jul;98(7):1160-70.


Purpose: To explore attitudes and perceptions of obesity, and identify preferences for weight-management interventions by African-American and Caucasian women who were followed in general internal medicine clinics.

Procedure: Surveys exploring these issues were mailed to African-American (n=240) and Caucasian (n=240) women with a BMI of > or =30.

Main findings: Caucasian women felt past weight-loss efforts were helped by weight-loss programs significantly more than African-American women (P<0.001); African-American women were more likely to feel that their cultural background contributed to their weight gain than did Caucasian women (P=0.001). African-American women expressed a higher need for one-on-one counseling with their physician (P<0.001) as well as group meetings with the dietician, physician and other women (P=0.004) than did Caucasian women. African-American women also felt it was more important for weight-loss programs to have information on food common to their culture than did Caucasian women (P<0.001).

Conclusions: Differences in cultural background and preferences about weight loss interventions have important policy implications for how the U.S. healthcare system provides care to an ever-increasing multicultural population with a national epidemic such as obesity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Weight Loss*
  • White People / psychology*
  • Women's Health*