Abstract| Volume 51, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S84, July 2019

P115 Eating Regulation, Diet-Related Autonomy and Competence, and Body Image Among African American Women

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      African Americans experience cardiovascular disease at a higher rate than other racial groups due to co-morbid conditions. Eating regulation has been shown to influence cardiovascular disease risk factors; however, this has not been adequately explored in African American female caretakers with young children.


      Identify eating regulation behaviors among African American female caretakers with young children at risk for cardiovascular disease.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      This cross-sectional research surveyed individuals that identified as low-income, African American, adult females, and primary caretaker of young children in Central North Carolina. Five nutrition professionals and two community members content and face validated the survey.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Utilizing constructs from the Social Cognitive Theory and Self-Determination Theory, eating self-efficacy, dietary autonomy and competence, overeating, dietary intake, concepts related to body image (Western “thin” beauty standard), food security and sociodemographic characteristics were assessed. Autonomy describes the degree of internalization of dietary behaviors. Competence is the perceived ability to perform personally relevant dietary behaviors. Descriptive analyses included means and frequencies.


      The sample (n = 81) had a mean age of 36 years with an average BMI of 32 kg/m2. Reported cardiovascular disease risk factors included hypertension (48%), obesity (29%) and diabetes (12%). Well above 60% of participants reported frequent intake of high-energy foods. Overeating and eating self-efficacy were not perceived to impact dietary behaviors (96%). Diet-related autonomy ranged from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation (97%). Competence in performing routine tasks was reported by 99% of the participants. Acceptance of the Western beauty standard was reported by 18% of participants.


      Despite being largely overweight or obese, results suggest this group does not believe they overeat and eating behaviors are intrinsically motivated. Discrepancies in weight status, dietary intake, and perceptions of eating behaviors highlight the need to target nutrition education interventions in ways that address specific beliefs about diet and overall health.