Despite the potential benefits of weight loss, factors associated with weight loss behavior are only beginning to be identified.
In this study, published in the October issue of Preventive Medicine, a research team examined the association between sociodemographic factors, perceived health, satisfaction with body size, and trying to lose weight.
The team obtained data from the 1996 to 1997 US Women's Determinants Study.
They included over 1,700 overweight and obese women, aged 40 and older.
|Women who were not satisfied with their body size were 9 times more likely to report trying to lose weight.|
Subjects were from 4 racial/ethnic groups: Hispanic, black, native American/Alaskan, and non-Hispanic white.
The research team found that approximately half the women reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their body size.
Satisfaction was associated with lower body mass index (BMI), greater age, lower educational level, and better self-rated health.
They also found that compared with non-Hispanic white women, women in the other racial/ethnic groups expressed greater body satisfaction.
However, about 65% of women reported that they were currently trying to lose weight.
The team found that the strongest predictor of trying to lose weight was satisfaction with body size.
Women who were not satisfied with their body size were 9 times more likely to report trying to lose weight, than those who were very satisfied.
They identified other significant predictors as BMI, race/ethnicity, and age.
Dr Lynda Anderson's team concluded, "Our findings should serve as the impetus for the inclusion of measures of body image in surveillance and intervention studies of weight loss and control".