Considering J.Lo and Ugly Betty: a qualitative examination of risk factors and prevention targets for body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and obesity in young Latina women

Body Image. 2012 Jun;9(3):381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.04.003. Epub 2012 May 18.


Latina women are vulnerable to poor body image, eating disorders, and obesity, particularly during the college years. This study sought to identify common cultural antecedents of these concerns in order to inform the development of prevention programs for this population. Six groups of university students who identified as Latina (N=27) discussed cultural aspects of body image, eating disorders, and obesity. Thematic analysis identified four main themes: (a) cultural disparities in body-ideal, including the influence of the media and acculturation issues; (b) messages about body shape and weight received by family, peers, and society; (c) difficulties making healthy eating and physical activity choices as a function of college life; and (d) the influence of peers and potential male partners on body satisfaction and body-ideals. These results have implications for the development of programs targeting body dissatisfaction and risk for eating disorders and obesity in Latina college women.

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation
  • Adolescent
  • Body Image*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / ethnology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mass Media*
  • Narration
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Values
  • Students / psychology
  • United States
  • Young Adult