204532 Weight control practices of black female college students in the south

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:30 AM

Phoebe Butler-Ajibade, EdD , Department of Human Performance and Leisure Studies, North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC
Patricia Lynch, PhD, RD, LDN , Family and Consumer Sciences, North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, NC
Inactivity is a serious problem in the Black community and is associated with high incidence of preventable diseases and premature deaths/disabilities. Despite the importance of exercise for both weight control and health benefits, black college females have shown low levels of participation. Some researchers have suggested that black females are satisfied with larger bodies and not interested in weight control. However, few studies have been done to assess body weight image among black college females (Nelson et al, 2007; Gary et al, 2006). This study assessed 150 black female students' weight image, weight goals, and weight control strategies using the National College Health Risk Behavior Survey (NCHRBS).

Most of the participants were freshmen (54%), full time (98.7), unemployed (62.7), lived on campus (59.7%) and overweight (59.7). The mean age was 19.7 (S.D. 3.70), ranging from17 to 53 . The mean BMI was 25.39 (S.D. 6.28), ranging from15.4 to 51.1. One-fifth of the students were overweight (BMI 25-29.9) (n=29). One-fifth (20.1%) of the students were obese (BMI greater than 30) and 7% were morbidly obese. One half of the students (n=75) indicated that they are trying to lose weight although 39.3% indicated that they were overweight. More than one half (58%) indicated that they had exercised to lose weight or to keep from gaining weight during the previous 30 days, and 47.3% had taken a physical education class during the academic year. Exercising for the specific purpose of weight loss was significant (p = .000). Students who believed that they were overweight or obese had a higher likelihood of participating in moderate physical activity (p = .000).

Although students reported exercising for weight loss, they did not exercise the recommended amount of time to facilitate weight loss. Reported barriers to exercise included time constraints, hair care, and not having anyone to exercise with. College fitness classes and other campus resources including the fitness centers were promoted for group support to exercise.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify factors associated with physical activity patterns of black college freshmen and sophomores. 2. Explain strategies that are used during physical activity classes to motivate students to be active for 5 days a week. 3. Compare activity patterns of students who believe that they are overweight to students who believe that their weight is not heavy. 4. Describe body weight image of black females in this sample.

Keywords: Obesity, Exercise

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Extensive training in lifestyle interventions for prevention of cardiovascular disease. Have conducted research on health risk behaviors of college students.
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.