PERCEPTIONS OF CHANGES IN WEIGHT AMONG AFRICAN AMERICAN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS


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Abstract

SUMMARYBack ground: Although African American breast cancer survivors are most likely to gain weight following diagnosis and treatment compared to women from other ethnic groups, limited information is available on psychological and behavioral reactions to weight change in this population.Objectives: To explore perceptions and reactions to weight change in African American breast cancer survivors.Methodology: A parallel mixed methods approach was used to explore experiences with and reactions to weight change following breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Participants were 16 short- and long-term African American breast cancer survivors.Results: Nine out of 16 participants gained weight following diagnosis and treatment and most participants were concerned about these changes. Most participants were also interested in diet and exercise programs; however, a holistic and common sense approach to diet and physical activity emerged as key themes.Conclusions: Although prior reports have found that African American women in the general population report a greater tolerance for larger body sizes, most participants in this study were concerned about changes in their weight and were actively trying to minimize weight gain. Several themes emerged regarding physical activity and dietary behaviors; overall, participants described a holistic and practical approach to these behaviors. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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