Janette Norrington

Self Perceptions of Beauty of African American Girls across Social Class

Small Fund Research Project & [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]

Research indicates that 80% of black women 40 years of age or older are overweight and more than half are obese. Obesity has contributed to black women experiencing earlier onset of chronic diseases, more years of disability, and early mortality than their white counterparts. Obesity imposes a significant economic burden on public and private payers, affecting direct healthcare costs and loss of productivity. Racial disparities in obesity have been explained in several ways, including that African American and European American females have different views on body image and tolerance for obesity.

This study examines the perceptions of beauty and weight among African American and white American female adolescents across class, investigating the following questions: (1) How do African American adolescent females’ perceptions of weight and body-size relate to the obesity epidemic? (2) To what extent do perceptions of beauty and weight among African American adolescent females differ across class? (3) To what extent do perceptions of beauty and weight among African American adolescent females differ from their white counterparts? (4) To what extent do social support and relationships, such as peer networks, relate to perceptions of beauty?

Funding: PSC Alumni Graduate Support Fund

Funding Period: 5/1/2014 to 12/31/2014

International Focus: United States of America

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