Evaluation of body shape, eating disorders and weight management related parameters in black female students of rural and urban origins
This study examined body shape dissatisfaction, eating disorder and weight management-related parameters as well as assimilation of Western cultural norms regarding body shape in black female students of urban and rural origins. Subjects (n=180; 20 ± 4,4 years old) were weighed, their height was measured and they completed the Body Shape Questionnaire, EAT-26, Eating Inventory (restraint scale), Adolescent Self-Concept Scale and a questionnaire concerning weight management behaviours. Main findings include lower prevalences of overestimation of body weight and body shape dissatisfaction, similar prevalences for dieting and the use of hazardous weight reduction methods, and higher prevalences for overweight, obesity, disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, and dietary restraint among subjects than among similar white groups. Furthermore, those with urban origins were more likely to be restrained eaters, to have attempted weight reduction, to aim for weight loss and to fear weight gain. These data indicate that there are signs of more realism concerning weight status among black female students. However, there are also signs of assimilation of Western cultural norms concerning body shape, eating attitudes and behaviours and weight management. This diversity in the black student population in South Africa needs to be recognized when planning interventions to address eating related problems.