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Title: Far from ideal, talking about weight with mothers and daughters from Winnipeg, southern Manitoba and a First Nations community
Authors: Marchessault, Gail D. M.
Issue Date: 1-May-2001
Abstract: This research compared body weight perceptions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal girls and their mothers. Three interview formats were used: in-depth qualitative interviews; a structured questionnaire analysed with cultural consensus theory; and three standardized questionnaires. Families were randomly selected based on the class lists of Grade 8 students from two urban and two rural schools. The sample consisted of 80 mother-daughter pairs, interviewed separately. The response rate was 71.3%. The non-Aboriginal women almost unanimously discussed strong societal pressures that made weight more important to women than to men. Most of the Aboriginal women, especially in the First Nations community (FNC), emphasized physiology and health, speaking in a way that suggested weight was 'not' central to female identity. Despite this, some Aboriginal women related a history of risky eating behaviours. Analysis of the 24 weight-related values statements indicated consensus, except in the FNC women. Both agreement and disagreement were highlighted. Across locations, approximately half of the girls accurately repeated their mothers' advice to them regarding weight. There were no significant associations between mother-daughter pairs in the analysis of the consensus statements, reports of dieting, general advice to others, the Restraint Scale, the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), or body dissatisfaction as measured by the Body Shape Drawings Questionnaire. A post-hoc analysis of 21 participants who most supported accepting one's body size was the only mother-daughter association that achieved statistical significance (kappa = 0.51). Body dissatisfaction was higher in Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal women (83% and 62%) and girls (66% and 36%). Responses on the Restraint Scale suggested more dieting in the FNC. More Aboriginal (17.5%) than non Aboriginal (2.5%) girls had EAT-26 scores suggestive of risk for an eating disorder. These results suggest that (a) girls are not necessarily emulating their mothers' weight concerns but may learn to challenge weight obsession from them; (b) both weight and weight preoccupation need to be considered in health messages to Aboriginal girls and women living in or close to an urban centre.
Appears in Collection(s):FGS - Electronic Theses & Dissertations (Public)

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