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CCEB. What role can culture play?. Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.P.H. University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Three Themes. Body Image Ethnic Minority Populations Cultural Change. Body Image. Concern about eating disorders Stigmatization of obese people

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What role can culture play?

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What role can culture play l.jpg

CCEB

What role can culture play?

Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., M.P.H.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine


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Three Themes

  • Body Image

  • Ethnic Minority Populations

  • Cultural Change


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Body Image

  • Concern about eating disorders

  • Stigmatization of obese people

  • Ethnic or socio-economic differences


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Focus Group Findings – Girls Health Enrichment Multisite Studies (GEMS), Memphis, TN

  • Dual meaning of the word “healthy”

  • Relate hairstyles and clothing to “looking good”; not size

  • Changing your body is not necessary – “Make the best of what you have”

Source: Beech B et al, presented at the American Public Health Association


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Ethnic Minority Populations

  • Highest risk groups in the U.S. for childhood obesity include ethnic minority populations

    • African Americans

    • Hispanic or Latino Americans

    • Native Americans

    • Pacific Islanders

  • Increasing % of population


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Overweight Children: Boys 6-11

Percent of population

*BMI at or above the sex and age-specific 95th percentile BMI cutoff points

**age-adjusted Source: Health United States, 1998 and Ogden JAMA Oct 9 2002


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Overweight childrenGirls 6-11


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Ethnic differences in factors that promote excess weight gain during children?

  • Mother’s weight status and pregnancy weight gain

  • Breastfeeding

  • Infant feeding practices

  • Foods at home and parenting style

  • Eating while watching TV

  • Community norms


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Cultural Changes


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Cultural Change

  • Definition of a healthy diet

  • Media

  • Communication patterns

  • Women’s roles

  • Parenting styles

  • Population diversity

  • Globalization of markets


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If culture is part of the problem, then it must also be part of the solution


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Culturally positive obesity prevention strategies

  • Do not focus on obesity as such

  • Increase awareness of changes while they are happening

  • Demand healthier mix of foods

  • Leverage diversity in food cultures

  • Create positive, psychologically and socially meaningful experiences with healthy foods

  • Empower parents


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National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH


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