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Advisory Committee Chair

Fred Biasini

Advisory Committee Members

Kevin Fontaine

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2014

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction is among many psychological concerns related to obesity, particularly among pre-adolescent females. Though obesity prevalence estimates are higher among African American (AA) adolescent females, the limited data available suggests that they are less susceptible to weight-related body dissatisfaction than Caucasians. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the relationship between BMI and body dissatisfaction and the relationship between BMI and self-esteem in obese AA and Caucasian girls, aged 7-11 years, and determine if these relationships are moderated by race. Furthermore, an examination of how total body fat and body fat distribution before and after a dietary intervention influence body dissatisfaction and self-esteem was conducted. The intervention consisted of two phases: a 6-week euclaoric and a 12-week hypocaloric phase, in which all food was provided. The Contour Drawing Rating Scale assessed body dissatisfaction and Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale evaluated global self-esteem. Body fat was assessed by DXA. Limiting analyses to participants with complete data sets, 46 participants were included at baseline, 25 at 6-weeks, and 23 at 18-weeks. BMI, total body fat, trunk fat, gynoid fat, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem improved at various time-points over the course of the study (p<0.03). Results did not show a significant moderating effect of race on the relationships between BMI, body dissatisfaction, and self-esteem. Findings indicated that body dissatisfaction was positively associated with BMI (p=0.02), though this association varied over the course of the study. Further, for AA girls, the trunk-to-gynoid fat ratio was negatively associated with self-esteem (p=0.005). Findings suggest that a structured dietary intervention in a free-living setting may be an effective strategy to improve both the physiological and psychological in AA and Caucasian pre-pubertal girls.

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