Weight loss attempts and attitudes toward body size, eating, and physical activity in American Indian children: relationship to weight status and gender.
OBJECTIVE: This study examined dieting, weight perceptions, and self-efficacy to eat healthy foods and engage in physical activity and their relationships to weight status and gender among American Indian elementary schoolchildren. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Data for this study were collected as part of the baseline examination for the Pathways study. Participants were 1441 second- through third-grade American Indian children in 41 schools representing seven tribes in Arizona, New Mexico, and South Dakota who filled out a questionnaire and had heights and weights taken. RESULTS: Forty-two percent of the children were overweight or obese. No differences were found between overweight/obese and normal weight children for healthy food intentions or self-efficacy. Heavier children (especially those with body mass index > 95th percentile) were more likely to have tried to lose weight or were currently trying to lose weight. No gender differences were found. Normal weight children chose a slightly heavier body size as most healthy compared with overweight/obese children. DISCUSSION: The results indicate that children are concerned about their weight and that weight modification efforts are common among overweight American Indian children. School, community, and family-based programs are needed to help young people adopt lifelong healthful eating and physical activity practices.
Story, M; Stevens, J; Evans, M; Cornell, CE; Juhaeri, ; Gittelsohn, J; Going, SB; Clay, TE; Murray, DM
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