Body Size Perceptions Vary
African American women and doctors may be speaking different languages when discussing body size, a study suggests. Researchers showed drawings of nine female figures ranging from skinny to very obese to 69 African American women, more than half of whom were obese (a body mass index—a ratio of weight to height—of 30 or higher) and a third of whom were overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9). They were asked to classify the figures as “overweight,” “obese,” or “too fat,” then choose the figure that most resembled themselves. The majority of overweight women and nearly half of the obese women chose figures that they had not labeled as too heavy by any term. On average, the figure that the women called “overweight” was smaller than the one they labeled as “too fat,” suggesting that they define “overweight” differently from doctors, researchers say. Bottom line: Be sure to talk with your doctor about what’s a healthy weight for you.
Source: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, published online Sept. 10, 2014