NIH Research Festival
African-born blacks living in the United States are exposed to both American and African influences. There is a paucity of data on the attitudes of Africans living in America toward body size. Therefore, 352 African-born Blacks living in the Washington DC area (female: 39% (137/352), age 40¬±11, (mean¬±SD), range 20-65y, BMI 27.8¬±4.5, range 19.3-42.4 kg/m2) had body image assessments performed with the Stunkard Figure Rating Scale. Body size dissatisfaction was the difference between perceived and wish body size. Compared to men, women had higher BMI (29.1¬±4.9 vs. 26.9¬±3.9 kg/m2, P<0.01), prevalence of obesity (38% vs 20%, P<0.01), and body size dissatisfaction (82% vs 69%, P<0.01). The majority wanted to be normal weight (65%, (230/352)). No one wished to be obese. The odds of Africans who were overweight or obese being dissatisfied because they were too big were: 3.9 (95% CI 2.1, 7.3) and 17.4 (95% CI 6.8, 43.8) respectively. With income, African region of origin, immigration during adulthood, duration of stay in the United States, education and exercise added to the model, only higher income was associated with a higher odds of being dissatisfied based on large body size (OR 2.4, 95% CI: 1.3 to 4.5, P<0.01). Africans who were from Central and East Africa, tended to be more likely to be dissatisfied because they were too big than West Africans (OR 1.6 (95% CI 0.85, 2.84, P=0.15). African-born Blacks in America do not value obesity. Income and African region of origin may contribute to dissatisfaction with large body size.
Scientific Focus Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences
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