Yo-yo dieting in African American women: weight cycling and health

Ethn Dis. 2011 Summer;21(3):274-80.


Objective: Research on the effects of weight cycling on health is mixed, strife with inconsistent definitions and the exclusion of African Americans. This study examined weight cycling prevalence among African American women prior to enrolling in a weight management program. Associations of weight cycling with physical and psychological health were conducted.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis.

Setting: Community-based weight-management program.

Participants: 167 overweight or obese treatment-seeking African American women.

Main outcome measures: Weight cycling was examined in relation to physiological factors, including eating pathology, mood, self esteem, and physical health, specifically current weight, ideal weight, peak weight, and blood pressure.

Results: Weight cycling was prevalent (63%). Cyclers had higher current and peak weights (P<.01). Blood pressure did not differ between groups. Cyclers had higher drive for thinness, less body satisfaction, and less self-esteem for appearance (P<.05).

Conclusion: African American women are at risk for weight cycling and it may be associated with greater weight and poorer measures of psychological health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Image
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Self Concept