Submitted to: Obesity Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Citation: Beech, B.M., Kumanyika, S.K., Baranowski, T., Davis, M., Robinson, T.N., Sherwood, N.E., Taylor, W.C., Relyea, G., Zhou, A., Pratt, C., Owens, A., Thompson, N.S. 2004. Parental cultural perspectives in relation to weight-related behaviors and concerns of African-American girls. Obesity Research. 12(Supplement):7S-19S. Interpretive Summary: Although African American females are at increased risk for obesity, there is substantial variability. If obesity is related to culture, variability in factors predisposing to obesity (e.g. diet, PA) could be related to cultural identity. This was a secondary analysis of data from the GEMS obesity prevention trial which was conducted at four sites: Baylor College of Medicine, University of Memphis, University of Minnesota and Stanford University. In a sample of 210 8 to 10 year old African American girls, parents completed the African American Acculturation Scale (AAAS), the Multiethnic Identity Scale (MEIS) and the Global Cultural Identity (GCI) question. At baseline the girls wore accelerometers to measure physical activity, provided two 24 hour dietary recalls and completed questionnaires on body image and weight concerns. Overall, parental AAAS, MEIS and GCI were unrelated or inconsistently related to girls’ physical activity and diet measures. New measures of acculturation, appropriate to African Americans, may be needed to further explore these issues.
Technical Abstract: To determine whether cultural perspectives of parents may influence children’s eating and physical activity behaviors and patterns of weight gain. African-American girls (ages 8 to 10 years) and their parents (or caregivers) (n = 210) participated at one of four Girls Health Enrichment Multisite Studies Phase 1 Field Centers. At baseline, parents completed questionnaires adapted from the African-American Acculturation Scale (AAAS), the Multiethnic Identity Scale (MEIS), and an original question on Global Cultural Identity. Girls’ baseline measures included physical activity assessment by accelerometer, 24-hour dietary recalls, and questionnaires about body image and weight concerns. Principal components analysis indicated the expected AAAS and MEIS factor structures, with moderate to good internal consistency (Cronbach’s = 0.61 to 0.82) and some intercorrelation among these measures (r = 0.17 to 0.57). Overall mean (SD) AAAS subscale scores of 4.1 (2.1) and 5.5 (1.8) of a possible 7 and 3.0 (0.9) of a possible 4 on the MEIS indicated, respectively, moderate to high levels of parental African-American cultural orientation and identity with moderate variability. Parental AAAS and MEIS scores were inversely correlated with girls’ body image discrepancy and weight concern. One AAAS subscale was positively associated with total energy intake and percentage energy from fat. Overall, however, parental AAAS and MEIS scores were unrelated or inconsistently related to girls’ physical activity and diet measures. The AAAS and MEIS measures had acceptable psychometric properties, except for weight concern, but did not give a consistent picture of how parental perspectives related to the girls’ baseline attitudes and behaviors.