Online Program

Weight related perceptions and perceived threat to disease among African American Women in Mississippi

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Alyce Stewart, MPH, MCHES, DrPH (c), Behavioral and Environmental Health, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Mohammad Shahbazi, PhD, MPH, MCHES, School of Health Sciences (Public Health Program), Jackson State Universtiy, Pearl, MS
Clifton C. Addison, PhD, Jackson Heart Study/Project Health/School of Public Health, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
David Brown, EdD, MCHES, School of Health Sciences, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Azad R. Bhuiyan, MD, MPH, PhD, Department of Epidemiology, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
Olúgbémiga Ekúndayò2, DrPH, Department of Health Services Administration, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA

Background: Nationally, African American women have the highest obesity prevalence compared to women of other racial and ethnic groups; and Mississippi has the highest adult obesity rate in the nation. Obesity contributes to many chronic diseases.  Studies have shown that African American women (AAW) misperceive their weight status. These studies have implied that such misperception may prevent women or decrease their motivation to participate in weight loss programs, disagree that their weight is a health risk, and may not be receptive to public health messages. What is unclear are the reasons why AAW misperceive their weight status. This doctoral dissertation study is the first attempt in Mississippi to empirically document this health-related issue.

Methods: Qualitative research methodology was utilized to collect data from thirty-six African American. Women were 21 years of age and older from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds from Hinds County in Mississippi. Focus groups were conducted to explore attitudes, beliefs, and contributing factors to weight perception of African American women in Mississippi. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the collected data.

Results: Key themes presented as contributing factors to weight perception reflective of interpretations across focus group discussions were (1) body mass index chart, (2) stigma of the word “obese”, and (3) denial.

Conclusion: Findings will assist public health and health care providers with developing tailored interventions and programs to address weight related insight and establish policies on how weight is assessed for this population.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain weight related perceptions among African American women in Mississippi List contributing factors for weight misperception among African American women in Mississippi Identify risks and perceived threat of disease for African American women in Mississippi

Keyword(s): African American, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a graduate public health student, I have taken advance graduate-level courses in public health discipline and some of their applications in real world. I spent three years with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where I had supervised training, and then conducted independent public health program, implemented and evaluated them. As a doctoral student, I am well prepared to present to diverse audiences.
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.