Journal Article

Differences in Body Shape Representations among Young Adults from a Biracial (Black-White), Semirural Community

A. R. Bhuiyan, J. Gustat, S. R. Srinivasan and G. S. Berenson

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 158, issue 8, pages 792-797
Published in print October 2003 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online October 2003 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Differences in Body Shape Representations among Young Adults from a Biracial (Black-White), Semirural Community

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In this study, the authors examined body image perception and body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) among race-gender groups in a biracial (Black-White) population of young adults in Bogalusa, Louisiana. A mail-out survey was completed in 1994 by 3,698 (65%) participants aged 18.5–35 years in the Bogalusa Heart Study (mean age = 27.6 years). As part of the survey, body image perception was determined in terms of body shape representations from a figure rating scale. A body image discrepancy score was calculated from the difference between z-standardized values of body image perception and body mass index. A stepwise proportional odds model including the covariates income, employment, education, and physical activity was used to identify factors influencing lower perception of body shape. Mean body mass index was highest among Black females (p < 0.001). The odds of having a lower perception of body shape (vs. body mass index) were 1.72 times higher in Blacks (p < 0.001), 0.80 times lower in persons who were currently employed (p < 0.001), and 0.86 times lower in persons with a higher education (p = 0.032). Gender, income, and physical activity were not found to be significant predictors of body image perception (p > 0.05). The authors conclude that significant differences exist within racial groups concerning body image perception in relation to overweight status among young adults. This has implications for prevention and education programs.

Keywords: blacks; body image; body mass index; body weight; perception; psychology; whites; Abbreviations: BID, body image discrepancy; BMI, body mass index; CARDIA, Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

Journal Article.  4147 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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