Elran-Barak, Roni, Tzvia Blumstein, Valentina Boyko, Dana Hadar, Adel Farhi, Liat Lerner-Geva, and Yael Benyamini. “Overweight and Obese Midlife Women in Israel: Cultural Differences in Perceived Weight Status.” International Journal of Public Health (early view; online first).
To examine cultural differences in Weight status misperception (WSMP) and identify associations between weight perception and weight control efforts among overweight/obese midlife women in Israel.
Data from the nationally representative Women’s-Health-in-Midlife-National-Study were used. Participants included overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30) and obese (BMI ≥ 30) midlife women (45–64 years) from three cultural groups: Long-Term Jewish Residents (LTJR), Immigrants from the former USSR, and Arabs. Interviews included measures of BMI, weight perception, lifestyle, and socio-demographics.
Most overweight/obese women (88 %) perceived their weight status correctly. No significant differences were found in overall WSMP rates across cultural groups. Overweight women of Arab origin were significantly more likely (p < 0.001) to perceive their weight as “about right” relative to LTJR and Immigrants. WSMP was associated with several unhealthy eating patterns [eating red meat (OR = 2.1, 95 % CI = 1.13–3.97), white bread (OR = 2.4, 95 % CI = 1.26–4.58)] and with more perceived barriers to exercising (OR = 1.8, 95 % CI = 1.00–3.42).
Health care providers are encouraged to pay attention to overweight/obese women who misperceive their weight status. These women are more likely to consume unhealthy foods and to be at higher risks of suffering from medical complications associated with obesity.