Eating as a Cultural Expression of Caring among Afro-Caribbean and African American Women: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions of Obesity
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BACKGROUND: Previous studies focused on obesity and weight management have ignored the cultural uniqueness of Afro-Caribbean individuals. The purpose of this study was to examine the cultural context for notions of good health and health practices, and perception of obesity and weight management, among African American and Caribbean American women. METHODS: Four focus groups of Afro-Caribbean and African American women (age 40 and older) were conducted between May and July of 2007 to explore cultural factors related to physical activity, healthy eating and weight management. RESULTS: Cultural variation was observed among Afro-Caribbean and African American woman in terms of indigenous traditions of food and food preparation, and perceptions of obesity. CONCLUSIONS: In the development of community-based interventions to counter trends towards obesity among people of African descent, it may be important not to assume that 'one size fits all' cultures.