Ethnic differences in correlates of obesity between Latin-American and black women

Lisa A.P. Sánchez-Johnsen*, Marian L. Fitzgibbon, Zoran Martinovich, Melinda R. Stolley, Alan R. Dyer, Linda Van Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: To date, no studies have examined dietary intake, physical activity, and body image in a large sample of Latin-American and black women recruited using the same methodology. The aim of this study was to examine three potential correlates of obesity (dietary intake, body image, and physical activity) in a large sample of Latin-American and black women across the weight spectrum. Research Methods and Procedures: Participants were black (n = 271) and Latin-American (n = 234) adult women who completed a 24-hour dietary recall and physical activity and body image questionnaires. Results: After controlling for BMI, education, marital status, and number of children, black women consumed more kilocalories, dietary fat (grams), and percent calories from fat than Latin-American women, who consumed more carbohydrates (grams) and dietary fiber (total and soluble). Black women engaged in more sedentary behavior than Latin-American women. Although Latin-American women weighed less than black women, they perceived their current body image as heavier and reported greater body image dissatisfaction than black women. Black women also reported a higher ideal body image than Latin-American women. Discussion: The combined effect of a diet higher in calories and fat, increased sedentary behavior, and more accepting body image could account for higher rates of obesity among black women. Future studies should further explore cultural attitudes and beliefs related to weight that could provide information for the development of culturally competent obesity interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-660
Number of pages9
JournalObesity Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004


  • Blacks
  • Body image
  • Dietary intake
  • Latin Americans
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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