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African American women are disproportionately burdened with cardiovascular disease and co-morbid risk factors. Overeating has been established as a cardiovascular disease risk factor though there is limited evidence of its impact on cardiovascular disease risk in African American female caretakers. It is important to understand diet-related cardiovascular disease risk as it relates to overeating in this population given the potential impact of maternal dietary behaviors on children's dietary behaviors.
To explore how African American female caretakers describe overeating.
Study Design, Settings and Participants
This phenomenological study collected qualitative data on participants’ views on overeating through individual online interviews using an interview guide. Participants were recruited from a local university's electronic listserv which included self-identified African American students and staff members
Data were content analyzed to identify themes related to general eating behaviors and overeating.
Participants (n = 8) were university staff members and students identified as African American female caretakers with an average age of 33 years. Overeating was described using a variety of concepts ranging from high weight status to unawareness of satiety signals and with terms such as ‘stuffed’ and ‘disordered eating.’ The phrase ‘physically uncomfortable’ was used to describe overeating in 50% of the interviews. When overeating, participants reported having a distinct taste preference for high-energy, carbohydrate-rich foods, such as cakes and cookies. Overeating occurred in social settings, including family and cultural events, over 50% of the time and as a result of daily stressors.
Culture, emotion and family play an integral role in how and when overeating occurs among this group. Consumption of energy dense foods because of overeating is particularly relevant because of the contribution to diet related chronic disease risk. Given the high rates of chronic disease among African American women, an understanding of how overeating is defined for this population will aid nutrition professionals in tailoring messages.