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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3337.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - Board 7

Abstract #110610

Body image and weight control practices in a lesbian sample

Deborah J. Aaron, PhD1, Nina Markovic, PhD2, Michelle E. Danielson, PhD3, Melissa Brusoski, BA1, and Vincent Arena, PhD4. (1) Department of Health and Physical Activity, University of Pittsburgh, 155 Trees Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, 412-648-8272, debaaron@pitt.edu, (2) Department of Epidemiology and School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Salk Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, (3) Department of Epidemiology/Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, (4) Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh, 130 DeSoto Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Data from the ESTHER (Epidemiologic STudy of HEalth Risk in Women) Project were utilized to examine body image and weight control methods in a sample of lesbians. The sample (n=144) was 92% white, 68% had a college degree and the mean age was 48 years. Height, weight, % body fat and waist circumference were measured during a clinical exam and data related to body image and weight loss practices were obtained from questionnaires. The mean body mass index (BMI) for the sample was 29.4 kg/m2, mean % body fat was 38.5% and mean waist circumference was 39 inches. Overall, 65% of the sample was dissatisfied with the shape of their body, 62% were dissatisfied with their weight, 42% indicated that their stomach was too big and 42% reported that their thighs were too large. Using standard body silhouettes (1-9) women were asked to identify their current body size and desired body size. Women's current body size was higher than their desired body size (5.0 vs. 3.4). The majority of women (72%) reported at least one weight control method during the past year including reduced amount of food eaten (72%), increased exercise (72%), change type of food eaten (59%), cut out sweets and junk food (57%), ate less carbohydrates (54%), decreased fat intake (50%). These data indicate that overweight lesbians may be dissatisfied with their body shape and size and seek out methods to lose weight. The findings support the need to develop and implement weight control programs for lesbians.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Lesbian Health, Weight Management

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Special Topics: Poster Session

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA