National Institute on Aging

Tulane University Study Finds a High Degree of Dissatisfaction With Body Size Among Blacks

tulaneA new study by researchers at the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University in New Orleans examined the body image satisfaction of African American adults. Survey participants were shown a series of images depicting various body types. They were then asked to choose the image that best depicts their own body type.


The results found that only 44 percent of all participants selected the image that corresponded with their actual size. People who chose the image that best depicted their actual body size were considered satisfied with their bodies, according to the researchers. More people underestimated their size than overestimated their size. Men were more likely to be satisfied with their body size than women.

Jeannette Gustat, a clinical associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the lead author of the study, stated that “low body satisfaction has been linked to health issues, such as eating disorders on one end of the spectrum, but also a lack of perceiving the risk of chronic diseases related to obesity on the other end. That can have serious health implications because obesity is related to so many serious and costly chronic diseases. Individuals are not likely to change behaviors if they do not see a problem.”

The study, “Body Image Satisfaction Among Blacks,” was published on the website of the journal Health Education & Behavior. It may be accessed here.


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