Body image perceptions and dieting among African-American pre-adolescent girls and parents/caregivers

Nancy E. Sherwood, Mary Story, Bettina Beech, Lisa Klesges, Alison Mellin, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Marsha Davis

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12 Scopus citations


This study describes body image and weight concern attitudes of pre-adolescent African-American (AA) girls and their parent/caregivers. Cross-sectional survey data were collected from 189 low-income 8- to 10-year-old AA girls and 179 parents/caregivers of AA girls from 2 urban areas, Memphis and Minneapolis/St. Paul. Results demonstrated that most AA girls were either happy with their weight, or did not think about it at all. However, 20% of girls would like to be larger than their current size, and 50% would like to be smaller. Girls in Minneapolis/St. Paul were more likely than Memphis girls to report weight dissatisfaction. One third of parents reported concerns that their daughters were too heavy. Seventy-two percent of parents reported that they were trying to lose weight. Discussions include possible regional differences in weight concern among AA girls, and implications for obesity prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • African American
  • Body image
  • Dieting
  • Ethnicity
  • Obesity


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