Overweight and obese midlife women in Israel: cultural differences in perceived weight status

Roni Elran-Barak, Tzvia Blumstein, Valentina Boyko, Dana Hadar, Adel Farhi, Liat Lerner-Geva, Yael Benyamini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: To examine cultural differences in Weight status misperception (WSMP) and identify associations between weight perception and weight control efforts among overweight/obese midlife women in Israel. Methods: Data from the nationally representative Women’s-Health-in-Midlife-National-Study were used. Participants included overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30) and obese (BMI ≥ 30) midlife women (45–64 years) from three cultural groups: Long-Term Jewish Residents (LTJR), Immigrants from the former USSR, and Arabs. Interviews included measures of BMI, weight perception, lifestyle, and socio-demographics. Results: Most overweight/obese women (88 %) perceived their weight status correctly. No significant differences were found in overall WSMP rates across cultural groups. Overweight women of Arab origin were significantly more likely (p < 0.001) to perceive their weight as “about right” relative to LTJR and Immigrants. WSMP was associated with several unhealthy eating patterns [eating red meat (OR = 2.1, 95 % CI = 1.13–3.97), white bread (OR = 2.4, 95 % CI = 1.26–4.58)] and with more perceived barriers to exercising (OR = 1.8, 95 % CI = 1.00–3.42). Conclusions: Health care providers are encouraged to pay attention to overweight/obese women who misperceive their weight status. These women are more likely to consume unhealthy foods and to be at higher risks of suffering from medical complications associated with obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Midlife
  • Obesity
  • Weight loss
  • Weight misperception

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