SOCIAL, ATTITUDINAL AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF WEIGHT CHANGE AMONG MEXICAN AMERICAN WOMEN (OBESITY, DIET, TEXAS)
In industrialized countries the prevalence of obesity among women decreases with increasing socioeconomic status. While this relation has been amply documented, its explanation and implications for other causal factors of obesity has received much less attention. Differences in childbearing patterns, norms and attitudes about fatness, dietary behaviors and physical activity are some of the factors that have been proposed to explain the inverse relation. The objectives of this investigation were to (1) examine the associations among social characteristics and weight-related attitudes and behaviors, and (2) examine the relations of these factors to weight change and obesity. Information on social characteristics, weight-related attitudes, dietary behaviors, physical activity and childbearing were collected from 304 Mexican American women aged 19 to 50 living in Starr County, Texas, who were at high risk for developing diabetes. Their weights were recorded both at an initial physical examination and at a follow-up interview one to two and one-half years later, permitting the computation of current Body Mass Index (weight/height('2)) and weight change during the interval for each subject. Path analysis was used to examine direct and indirect relations among the variables. The major findings were: (1) After controlling for age, childbearing was not an independent predictor of weight change or Body Mass Index. (2) Neither planned exercise nor total daily physical activity were independent predictors of weight change. (3) Women with higher social characteristics scores reported less frequent meals and less use of calorically dense foods, factors associated with lower risk for weight gain. (4) Dietary intake measures were not significantly related to Body Mass Index. However, dietary behaviors (frequency of meals and snacks, use of high and low caloric density foods, eating restraint and disinhibition of restraint) did explain a significant portion (17.4 percent) of the variance in weight change, indicating the importance of using dynamic measures of weight status in studies of the development of obesity. This study highlights factors amenable to intervention to reverse or to prevent weight gain in this population, and thereby reduce the prevalence of diabetes and its sequelae.
JOOS, SANDRA KAY, "SOCIAL, ATTITUDINAL AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF WEIGHT CHANGE AMONG MEXICAN AMERICAN WOMEN (OBESITY, DIET, TEXAS)" (1984). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8505188.