Sociocultural Influences on Weight-Related Behaviors in African American Adolescents

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the sociocultural factors related to weight behaviors in African American adolescents utilizing a social ecological approach. A descriptive correlational design included a sample of 145 African American adolescents. Perceived familial socialization, ethnic identity, physical activity, and eating behavior patterns were measured. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Pearson product-moment correlations, and multiple regression equations. Perceived maternal socialization was significantly related to adolescent eating behaviors and physical activity whereas perceived paternal socialization was significantly related only to their physical activity. The adolescents’ ethnic identity was not significantly related to their eating behaviors or physical activity. Health care providers who work with adolescents and their families can use the initial findings from this study to encourage healthy weight-related behaviors while reducing the obesity epidemic within the African American adolescent population in a developmentally appropriate and culturally sensitive manner.

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