224437 BMI, Perceived Discrimination and Depressive Affect in a College Population

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Vicki Ebin, MSPH, PhD , Health Sciences Department, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, CA
Background: Studies suggest that obese women were unhappy with their body due to factors other than BMI and that it was important to note the perceptions of weight. Psychosocial factors and demographics such as depressive affect, ethnicity, and gender also appear related to BMI. Additionally, there is a growing concern of discrimination and “victim blaming” occurring within the current climate of economic uncertainty. Purpose: This study examines the relationship of gender, ethnicity, BMI, depressive affect, and feelings of discrimination in a college population. Methodology: A cross-sectional study using a self-administered survey was conducted within a college campus. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. The total sample consisted of 1010 respondents. Results: Females were 56.4% of the sample. The majority of the respondents were of normal BMI (58.3%) while 36.6% were found to be overweight/obese. A larger number of males than females reported being obese (p<.001). Of those in the obese BMI category, 67.8% report being treated unfairly due to their weight compared to 27.1% in the normal BMI category. There is a difference in reported depressive affect by gender with two BMI categories. Within those identified as overweight, 16.6% of males compared to 29.9% of females report depressive affect (p<.01), while 43.6% of women reported depressive affect compared to 18% of males in the obese BMI category (p<.01). Conclusions and Recommendations: Depressive affect varies by gender within BMI categories as do perceptions of being treated unfairly. Further research is needed on understanding these relationships. Implications for university interventions will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to describe the relationship of perceived discrimination and BMI. 2. By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to compare the relationship of depressive affect, perceived discrimination, gender and BMI.

Keywords: College Students, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I collected and analyzed the data on college health issues.
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.