Abstract Title

“IS SKINNY HEALTHY”? : FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN REGARDING BARRIERS TO WEIGHT LOSS

Presenter Name

Jennifer Cole

Abstract

Focus group discussions among African American women and their perceptions of body image and how this impacts weight loss.

Presentation Type

Poster

Purpose (a):

To examine how motivation and appearance is related to weight loss among African American (AA) women. Studies indicate AA women are more satisfied with their body and accept a larger body size. Yet, obesity rates leading to chronic disease are highest among AA women with nearly 60% considered overweight/obese.

Methods (b):

Focus groups were conducted with 51 AA women (mean age=45.6 years; 21% high school; 38% college; 62% full time employed). Social Cognitive Theory and Social Ecological Framework informed questions evaluating barriers and facilitators to weight loss. Classic content analysis identified themes related to motivation for weight loss and body appearance. Inter-rater reliability was adequate (K=0.65).

Results (c):

Motivation was mentioned 73 times and appearance 28 times. Prominent subthemes of motivation were lack of discipline, needing accountability, and excuses. Prominent subthemes for appearance were disconnection of obesity to health, acceptance of current size, and concern of losing desired shape. Concerns related to appearance may be related to motivation for weight loss in AA women such that preferences for appearance may interfere with motivation to adhere to weight loss behaviors.

Conclusions (d):

Research is needed to determine how to improve motivation for weight loss while considering AA women’s preferences for appearance.

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“IS SKINNY HEALTHY”? : FOCUS GROUP FINDINGS AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN REGARDING BARRIERS TO WEIGHT LOSS

Focus group discussions among African American women and their perceptions of body image and how this impacts weight loss.