199065 Yupik perceptions of body weight: Acculturation and generational differences

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:00 PM

Elizabeth Duthie, MA , Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Elaine Drew, PhD , Department of Population Health, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
Background: Native American communities suffer disproportionately greater burdens of obesity and related chronic diseases due to acculturative changes in diet and physical activity. The Center for Alaska Native Health Research works with Yupik communities in southwest Alaska on studies aiming to prevent and reduce health disparities associated with obesity, including the study of body weight perceptions and risk appraisal for diabetes.

Objectives: This study compares body weight perceptions of Yupik adults by gender and age to explore whether body image ideals are changing with the increasing influence of kussaq culture (non-native or western way of life).

Methods: Specially designed body image cards portraying 9 men and 9 women of varying BMIs from underweight to morbidly obese were shown to 58 adults (28 women and 30 men, ages 18-75). Data including BMI and proxy measures of acculturation were also collected. Using SAS, responses were compared by age group and gender.

Results: Both younger men and younger women identify slimmer female images as most attractive to men compared to their older counterparts (p=0.03). In addition, fewer women (53.6%) than men (80%) report satisfaction with the way they look now (p=0.03). Other results comparing generational attitudes about attractiveness and healthiness will be reported.

Conclusions: Though analysis does not conclusively confirm the hypothesis that younger cohorts are more affected by western body image ideals, there is some evidence that this may be the case. Further investigation into body image and acculturation could contribute to understanding obesity and aid in obesity prevention in Native communities.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objectives: 1. Describe the significance of the obesity and diabetes crisis in Alaska Native communities. 2. Discuss the ways in which the gradual replacement of the Yupik way of life with the kussaq way of life contributes to worrisome obesity trends.

Keywords: Obesity, Alaska Natives

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have contributed significantly to the analysis of data and written text provided in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.