Perceptions of obesity: Black and White differences

J Cult Divers. Winter 2008;15(4):174-80.


To better understand similarities and differences in Black and White women's perceptions about obesity, we conducted race-matched focus groups with thirty physician-referred, obese women. Participants completed demographic questionnaires and body image assessments. Analysis yielded some common themes. Unique themes for Black women included disagreement with the thin ideal and their own and family members' satisfaction with their weight; dislike of physical activity because of perspiration and appearance; program access barriers; and difficulties with clothing. White women desired support during weight loss from other obese individuals. Results support education and intervention programs that respond to specific needs of each group.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / education
  • African Americans / ethnology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health / ethnology*
  • Body Image
  • Causality
  • Clothing / psychology
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Exercise / psychology
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Self-Assessment
  • Social Perception
  • Southeastern United States
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whites / education
  • Whites / ethnology*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data