African-American Women Rate Heavier Body Types as Attractive, Study Says

Black women were also less likely to have eating disorders.

Posted: 05/22/2014 03:16 PM EDT
Filed Under Health News, Body Image

 (Photo: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

It is no secret that a little extra meat on your bones is considered a good thing in Black spaces. A new study details this fact, stating that African-American women view heavier body types as more attractive compared with their white counterparts, who preferred a thinner weight type.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City said 57 percent of African-Americans surveyed were more than likely to report being overweight at some point in their lives. However they also found that Black women were less likely to have eating disorders than white women.

"I wanted to really see how differences in beauty ideals and body images may affect various people's eating behaviors and how ethnicity might play a role in body image and beauty ideals," said Dr. Simone Lauderdale, according to Medscape.

A total of 96 college-aged women, 57 white and 21 African-American, were surveyed for the report. The respondents were the average age of 30 and all had graduate degrees, so that socioeconomic status could be ruled out of the results. 

Both Black and white women showed to be dissatisified with their body types and to have the same average rating for what body type was heaviest and still attractive. However, African-American women have a heavier woman in mind when it comes down to what is thinnest and still attractive. 

Lauderdale said these findings show beauty standards are developed based on the cultural backgrounds of patients. 

"Examining these patients' specific attitudes towards eating and their body ideals are important. African Americans have higher levels of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and other obesity-related illnesses compared with Caucasians," she added.

Future research will detail more participants and include the male's perception of women's body image, Dr. Lauderdale said. The study was presented at the American Psychiatric Association's 2014 Annual Meeting in New York City.

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