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Eating Behaviors and Obesity in African American and Caucasian Women

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Objective Few studies have examined racialethnic differences in eating behaviors in relation to obesity. We therefore studied overweight African American and Caucasian women with emotional eating to detect factors associated with obesity using multiple linear regression MLR and signal detection analysis SDA. Setting Participants were recruited from the greater Washington, D.C. area. Participants Ninety-eight female adults 46 African American, 54 Caucasian with self-reported emotional eating completed measures of eating-related cognitions and behaviors. Main Outcome Measures Body mass index BMI kgm2 and body fat percentage. Results African Americans had higher BMI and more body fat than Caucasian women but significantly lower levels of disinhibition of control over eating. Dietary restraint was not different between groups. MLR revealed being African American and reporting high disinhibition were associated with increases in both outcome variables, while high dietary restraint was associated with reduced BMI and body fat percentage. Signal detection results revealed that all African American women but only Caucasian women over the age of 29.3 were at significantly increased obesity risk. Conclusions Our findings highlight the utility of SDA in obesity risk factor detection and suggest a universal need for obesity prevention among Caucasian and African American women. Findings stress the importance of early-onset weight loss and weight management interventions for African American females.

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