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, 17 (4), 617-23

Concordance Between Self-Reported Heights and Weights and Current and Ideal Body Images in Young Adult African American Men and Women

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  • PMID: 18072369

Concordance Between Self-Reported Heights and Weights and Current and Ideal Body Images in Young Adult African American Men and Women

Theodosha S Gilliard et al. Ethn Dis.

Abstract

Satisfaction with overweight and obesity purportedly contribute to greater weight gain in African American women than men, yet relatively little data on perceived (PBI) and ideal body image (IBI) are available for young adult African Americans. In this survey, 509 self-identified African American freshmen in 2003 and 669 in 2006 at a historically Black university completed a survey that included self-reported height, weight and IBI. In 2003 and 2006, 42.2%-48.8% of men and women were overweight (body mass index [BMI] 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) or obese (BMI > or = 30). In both surveys, >75% of overweight women and >90% obese women selected a smaller IBI. In contrast, a greater proportion of overweight men was satisfied (approximately 50%) than the proportion who had larger than IBI (<40%). Among students with a normal BMI (<25), men were more likely than women to report being smaller than ideal (>45% vs <26%). However, overweight women were more likely than overweight men to select a normal PBI (48.5% vs 36.0%). The data in African American college freshman do not suggest that greater weight gain in women than men is driven by a desire to be heavier. The high proportion of overweight women with a normal PBI may contribute to greater weight gain. Of concern, nearly half of men with normal BMI want to be heavier, while approximately 5/8 of overweight men are satisfied with being overweight or want to be heavier.

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