208092 Race Differences in Risk Perception and Weight Perception among Female Health Center Patients

Monday, November 9, 2009

Susan Darlow, MA , Doctoral Program in Social/Health Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Melody S. Goodman, PhD , Graduate Program in Public Health/ Department of Preventive Medicine, Stony Brook University - School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY
Jewel D. Stafford, MSW , Graduate Program in Public Health/ Department of Preventive Medicine, Center for Public Health and Health Policy Research, Stony Brook, NY
Christina Lachance, MPH , Nhgri, HHS/NIH, Rockville, MD
Kimberly Kaphingst, ScD , Social and Behavioral Research Branch, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD
Background: The prevalence of obesity is higher in women who are members of racial and ethnic minority populations than in non-Hispanic white women. Obesity can contribute to many chronic diseases and conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. Theoretical models suggest that social, environmental and cultural factors may play a role in weight and risk perception. We examined racial differences in perceived risk and weight satisfaction among female health center patients.

Methods: Patients (N = 1,116) at community health centers in Suffolk County, NY were surveyed. Responses from Non-Hispanic White (Whites), Non-Hispanic Black (Blacks), and Hispanic females (n = 774) regarding risk perception for diabetes and heart disease and weight perceptions were analyzed using ANOVA and logistic regression.

Results: Whites believed they are at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes than Blacks (p =0.028). Blacks (OR = 1.66, 95%CI 1.10, 2.51) and Hispanics (OR = 3.86, 95%CI 2.41, 6.18) were more likely than Whites to believe that being overweight was a health problem for them. Hispanics were less likely to perceive themselves as overweight (OR = .69, p = 0.018, 95%CI 0.51, 0.94), be unsatisfied with their weight (OR = .72, p = 0.037, 95%CI 0.53, 0.98), and believe that they weigh more than other women the same age, height and race (OR = 0.61, p = 0.004, 95%CI 0.43, 0.85).

Conclusions: Race and ethnic differences were found for risk and weight perception. Findings demonstrate the need to educate minorities about obesity and other risk factors for chronic disease.

Learning Objectives:
Learning Objective 1: Examine race and ethnicity differences in perceived risk of heart disease and diabetes. Learning Objective 2: Identify race differences in models predicting risk perception. Learning Objective 3: Describe race differences in weight perception and satisfaction.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the study described in the abstract as a student research assistant, with the intention of becoming more involved in the Public Health program at Stony Brook University.
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.