A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students

J.A. Seed, Steve Olivier, R. Steinberg, L. Smit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

ObjectivesRecent research has shown an increase in the prevalence of eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa among black female students living in urban areas of South Africa. The aim of the present study was to provide a profile of mental and physical health, eating behaviour and body image among black female students living in a highly rural province of the country.
Design & Methods40 black female students from the University of Zululand, South Africa and, for purposes of comparison, 40 white female students from the University of Northumbria, UK, participated in the study. Testing and assessments were carried out locally and with the aid of a Zulu interpreter where appropriate. Dependent measures fell into three categories: morphological (body mass index, waist-hip ratio, percentage body fat), physiological (resting heart rate, blood pressure, haemoglobin, glucose, cholesterol) and psychological (anxiety, depression, attitudes and behaviours indicative of eating disorder). A body image assessment was also carried out.
ResultsNo between group differences were identified in terms of physical health, although the African participants were significantly larger, with 42.5 per cent of the sample being overweight or obese. However, African participants were significantly more depressed and symptomatic on the eating disorder measures. Both groups showed high levels of body dissatisfaction.
ConclusionsOverall, results suggest that black female students living in rural areas of South Africa may presently constitute a high-risk group for eating disorders. As such, it is proposed that these findings be taken as a prima facie case for psychoeducational intervention in such areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the British Psychological Society
PublisherThe British Psychological Society
Number of pages4
Volume12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

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Cross-Cultural Comparison
Body Image
Feeding Behavior
Students
South Africa
Health
Bulimia Nervosa
Waist-Hip Ratio
Anorexia Nervosa
Adipose Tissue
Mental Health
Hemoglobins
Body Mass Index
Anxiety
Heart Rate
Cholesterol
Depression
Psychology
Blood Pressure
Glucose

Cite this

Seed, J. A., Olivier, S., Steinberg, R., & Smit, L. (2004). A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students. In Proceedings of the British Psychological Society (Vol. 12). The British Psychological Society.
Seed, J.A. ; Olivier, Steve ; Steinberg, R. ; Smit, L. / A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. Vol. 12 The British Psychological Society, 2004.
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Seed, JA, Olivier, S, Steinberg, R & Smit, L 2004, A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students. in Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. vol. 12, The British Psychological Society.

A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students. / Seed, J.A.; Olivier, Steve; Steinberg, R.; Smit, L.

Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. Vol. 12 The British Psychological Society, 2004.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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N2 - ObjectivesRecent research has shown an increase in the prevalence of eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa among black female students living in urban areas of South Africa. The aim of the present study was to provide a profile of mental and physical health, eating behaviour and body image among black female students living in a highly rural province of the country.Design & Methods40 black female students from the University of Zululand, South Africa and, for purposes of comparison, 40 white female students from the University of Northumbria, UK, participated in the study. Testing and assessments were carried out locally and with the aid of a Zulu interpreter where appropriate. Dependent measures fell into three categories: morphological (body mass index, waist-hip ratio, percentage body fat), physiological (resting heart rate, blood pressure, haemoglobin, glucose, cholesterol) and psychological (anxiety, depression, attitudes and behaviours indicative of eating disorder). A body image assessment was also carried out.ResultsNo between group differences were identified in terms of physical health, although the African participants were significantly larger, with 42.5 per cent of the sample being overweight or obese. However, African participants were significantly more depressed and symptomatic on the eating disorder measures. Both groups showed high levels of body dissatisfaction.ConclusionsOverall, results suggest that black female students living in rural areas of South Africa may presently constitute a high-risk group for eating disorders. As such, it is proposed that these findings be taken as a prima facie case for psychoeducational intervention in such areas.

AB - ObjectivesRecent research has shown an increase in the prevalence of eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa among black female students living in urban areas of South Africa. The aim of the present study was to provide a profile of mental and physical health, eating behaviour and body image among black female students living in a highly rural province of the country.Design & Methods40 black female students from the University of Zululand, South Africa and, for purposes of comparison, 40 white female students from the University of Northumbria, UK, participated in the study. Testing and assessments were carried out locally and with the aid of a Zulu interpreter where appropriate. Dependent measures fell into three categories: morphological (body mass index, waist-hip ratio, percentage body fat), physiological (resting heart rate, blood pressure, haemoglobin, glucose, cholesterol) and psychological (anxiety, depression, attitudes and behaviours indicative of eating disorder). A body image assessment was also carried out.ResultsNo between group differences were identified in terms of physical health, although the African participants were significantly larger, with 42.5 per cent of the sample being overweight or obese. However, African participants were significantly more depressed and symptomatic on the eating disorder measures. Both groups showed high levels of body dissatisfaction.ConclusionsOverall, results suggest that black female students living in rural areas of South Africa may presently constitute a high-risk group for eating disorders. As such, it is proposed that these findings be taken as a prima facie case for psychoeducational intervention in such areas.

M3 - Conference contribution

VL - 12

BT - Proceedings of the British Psychological Society

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Seed JA, Olivier S, Steinberg R, Smit L. A cross-cultural comparison of health, eating behaviour and body image among black South African and white British university students. In Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. Vol. 12. The British Psychological Society. 2004