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Changes in Weight Experienced by Female Inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Incarcerated females are an under-studied population with little published research on weight changes or obesity. A sample of 98 female inmates, at a Federal Bureau of Prisons complex, was used in this comparative descriptive study of weight, body mass index BMI, changes among inmates in different custody level institutions, and with different sentence lengths. Data were collected by record reviews retrospectively over a three-year period and the length of incarceration. This study is based on Roys Adaptation Model. The total sample was heavier on admission than the general public. The sample shifted from normal to overweight individuals while the percentage of obese inmates showed small fluctuations. The mean BMI increase for the three-year period was statistically significant t 2.05, p 0.04 . The period of incarceration, which covered a longer time and had less missing data, produced results with greater statistical significance than the three-year period t 2.91, p 0.004. In-custody inmates gained weight and had a significant mean BMI increase t 2.05, p 0.05, while out-custody inmates experienced a non-significant BMI increase t 0.90, p 0.38. Independent tests comparing BMI changes by custody level were not significant t 0.96. p 0.34.Inmates with shorter sentences 100 months had a non-significant mean decrease in BMI t 0.04, p 0.97, while inmates with longer sentences 100 months had a significant mean increase in BMI t 2.52, p 0.02. Independent t-tests comparing the BMI changes by sentence length yielded t 1.13, p 0.26 for 1996-1998, and t 2.06, p 0.05 for the length of incarceration. Inmate BMIs by age followed the trends experienced by the general public, but BMIs by ethnicity did not.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology

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