Perceptions and beliefs about body size, weight, and weight loss among obese African American women: A qualitative inquiry

Christie A. Befort, Janet L. Thomas, Christine M. Daley, Paula C. Rhode, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore perceptions and beliefs about body size, weight, and weight loss among obese African American women in order to form a design of weight loss intervention with this target population. Six focus groups were conducted at a community health clinic. Participants were predominantly middle-aged with a mean Body Mass Index of 40.3 ± 9.2 kg/m2. Findings suggest that participants (a) believe that people can be attractive and healthy at larger sizes; (b) still feel dissatisfied with their weight and self-conscious about their bodies; (c) emphasize eating behavior as the primary cause for weight gain; (d) view pregnancy, motherhood, and caregiving as major precursors to weight gain; (e) view health as the most important reason to lose weight; (f) have mixed experiences and expectations for social support for weight loss; and (g) prefer treatments that incorporate long-term lifestyle modification rather than fad diets or medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-426
Number of pages17
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008

Keywords

  • African American
  • Focus groups
  • Obesity

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