Association of ethnicity and socioeconomic status with judgments of body size: The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

Elizabeth Lynch*, Kiang Liu, Bonnie Spring, Arlene Hankinson, Gina S. Wei, Philip Greenland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

The authors assessed the associations of ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES) with body size judgments in Black and White young adults. Self-perceived and ideal body size judgments were measured using the Stunkard nine-figure scale (higher value = larger body) at the year 7 examination (1992-1993) of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study. In sex-specific adjusted multiple regression models, the difference between self-perceived and ideal body size judgments was larger for Whites than for Blacks: 0.74 vs. 0.57 for White men vs. Black men (p < 0.05) and 1.48 vs. 0.96 for White women vs. Black women (p < 0.0001). This ethnic difference was evident in all body mass index-stratified adjusted models (all p's < 0.05). In ethnicity/sex-specific adjusted models, lower education was associated with a smaller difference between self-perceived and ideal body size for all groups except White women (p's for trend: White women, 0.57; Black women, <0.0001; White men, 0.0007; Black men, 0.016). Judgments of self-perceived body size differed by ethnicity but not by SES, and judgments of ideal body size differed by SES but not by ethnicity. Learning to make medically accurate judgments of healthy body size may increase the motivation to lose weight in some persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1062
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume165
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • Body composition
  • Body image
  • Body mass index
  • Body size
  • Ethnic groups
  • Social class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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