Body Weight Misconception and Maintenance Among Female African American College Students

Amy Jo Riggs, Bridget F. Melton, Lauren E. Bigham, Jian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare self-reported weight classifications with objectively measured body mass index (BMI) and weight management motivations among female African American (AA) students in a mid-size southeastern university in a rural setting. Participants were recruited from general health class to complete a brief survey, and their height/weight was measured. Chi-square tests were performed to investigate whether mismatch occurred between self-perceived weight classification and directly measured BMI, and the relationship between body weight loss effort and self-perceived body weight. Among the women who were classified as overweight or obese based on direct measurements, 29.63% and 11.59% felt they were normal weight, respectively. Almost one third of the overweight college females perceived their body weight incorrectly and body weight perception is a significant factor driving the body weight control efforts. Appropriate programs for body weight perception and weight control behavior for AA female college students should be developed and implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)698-709
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Black Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • African American females
  • actual body weight
  • body image concerns
  • perceived body weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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