Body style preference of African American females impacting their health
The preference of some African American women toward a larger, curvier body type may be a significant barrier to maintaining healthy weight, a key factor in helping prevent chronic illnesses like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, a new research study has found.
The research indicates that measures of what medical standards consider as normal, overweight and obese may not be as relevant to some African American women’s interpretations of their size classifications, meaning that a "one size fits all" approach to weight loss may not work for this group.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was led by Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, PhD, Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Community Health at UNT Health Science Center.
|Jennifer Cole (MPH ’14)|
In part, it conducted six focus groups to explore the influence that body image and appearance have on these women’s motivations to lose weight. Key findings showed a disconnect between body size and health status, suggesting that body mass index (BMI) standards may not be relevant to African American women.
UNTHSC School of Public Health graduate student Jennifer Cole (MPH ’14, Behavioral and Community Health), one of the researchers, recently shared a first look at the study’s findings in a presentation to the Texas Public Health Association’s 2014 Annual Education Conference, winning one of two first place awards for Outstanding Research Paper Presentation.
In her discussion, Cole highlighted the cultural and social norms regarding weight, health and body image among African American women and explained how the research data was used to develop the Better Me Within program, a faith-based weight loss intervention for women in South Dallas.
She noted that more research is needed among this population and that programs should consider linking weight to chronic health conditions as a motivational factor, while retaining cultural body satisfaction.
By Jeff Carlton When it opens in 2018, the building going up along Camp Bowie Boulevard will be more than just the first new research facility at UNT Health Science Center in 14 years. Housed inside an exterior of precast concrete, limestone walls and glass panels will be a building whose ...Read more
Oct 24, 2016
By Alex Branch Mark A. Baker, DO, a UNT Health Science Center alumnus and educator, has been voted President-elect of the American Osteopathic Association. Dr. Baker, a recently retired radiologist, will assume the presidency in July 2017. The association represents more than...Read more
Oct 24, 2016
By Alex Branch Michael Foster, MPH, (School of Public Health ’07) is an experienced public health scientist who spends half of each year overseas battling disease and health disparities. That has led to some rough moments in the field. During his first trip to Nigeria, he do...Read more
Oct 21, 2016
Glaucoma researcher Thomas Yorio, PhD, who was instrumental in the transformation of UNT Health Science Center from a medical college into a graduate university with multiple schools, is stepping down as Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs effective Friday, Oct. 21...Read more
Oct 18, 2016