Sex differences in perceived weight-based stigmatization among African Americans

Pamela E. Scott-Johnson, Susan M. Gross, Lynnett M. Gray, Shijun Zhu, Dorothy C. Browne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study examined sex differences in calculated and perceived weights and weight-based stigmatization. 371 African Americans (females=258) responded to a health and wellness survey. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and weight and categorized as underweight (7.0%), normal (48.2%), overweight (29.9%), and obese (14.8%). Perceived weight was measured by asking participants, "Do you consider yourself to be overweight?" Responses were then dichotomized as accurate or inaccurate. Stigmatization was constructed from 16 statements regarding perceived treatment due to weight status. Males and females differed in their perceptions of their weights. More than 20% of the participants had inaccurate perceptions of their weights, with the majority of the inaccurate participants (82.5%) perceiving their weight status lower than their actual weight status. More overweight or obese males than overweight or obese females did not perceive themselves as overweight (60.3% vs 28.3%, respectively, P<.001). While male and female perceptions of weight-based stigmatization were not statistically different (P=.071), participants who accurately perceived themselves to be overweight had higher perceived weight-based stigma scores than inaccurate participants who were overweight (P=.001). Males and females who were inaccurate were less likely to perceive weight-based stigmatization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S1196-S1200
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Volume20
Issue number1 SUPPL.1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010

Keywords

  • African American
  • Misperception of weight
  • Sex differences
  • Weight bias
  • Weight-based stigmatization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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  • Cite this

    Scott-Johnson, P. E., Gross, S. M., Gray, L. M., Zhu, S., & Browne, D. C. (2010). Sex differences in perceived weight-based stigmatization among African Americans. Ethnicity and Disease, 20(1 SUPPL.1), S1196-S1200.