Weight loss attempts and attitudes toward body size, eating, and physical activity in American Indian children: Relationship to weight status and gender

Mary Story, June Stevens, Marguerite Evans, Carol E. Cornell, Juhaeri, Joel Gittelsohn, Scott B. Going, Theresa E. Clay, David M. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: This study examined dieting, weight perceptions, and self-efficacy to eat healthy foods and engage in physical activity and their relationships to weight status and gender among American Indian elementary schoolchildren. Data for this study were collected as part of the baseline examination for the Pathways study. Participants were 1441 second-through third-grade American Indian children in 41 schools representing seven tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota who filled out a questionnaire and had heights and weights taken. Forty-two percent of the children were overweight or obese. No differences were found between overweight/ obese and normal weight children for healthy food intentions or self-efficacy. Heavier children (especially those with body mass index > 95th percentile) were more likely to have tried to lose weight or were currently trying to lose weight. No gender differences were found. Normal weight children chose a slightly heavier body size as most healthy compared with overweight/obese children. The results indicate that children are concerned about their weight and that weight modification efforts are common among overweight American Indian children. School, community, and family-based programs are needed to help young people adopt lifelong healthful eating and physical activity practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)356-363
Number of pages8
JournalObesity research
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2001

Keywords

  • American indian
  • Body image
  • Children
  • Obesity
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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