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Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Body Image Disturbances Among South African Mothers and Their Daughters Living in Soweto, Johannesburg

Cohen, Emmanuel, PhD; Gradidge, Philippe Jean-Luc, PhD; Micklesfield, Lisa K., PhD; Norris, Shane A., PhD

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000220
Original Articles
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In South African families, a phenomenon of mothers' acceptance of stoutness coexists with their daughters' appreciation for thinness. A sample of N = 615 mother-and-daughter pairs was recruited to conjointly identify the relationships toward body image and body mass index between both groups by assessing body weight satisfaction, body esteem, and eating disorders risk. We observed higher prevalence of obesity in mothers and higher eating disorders risk in daughters, while mother-daughter relationships were identified for body mass index and psychometric dimensions. The high prevalence of obesity in mothers and their tolerance for stoutness could expose their daughters to eating disorders and obesity.

MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa (Drs Cohen, Micklesfield, and Norris); and Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Wits Education Campus, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa (Dr Gradidge).

Correspondence: Emmanuel Cohen, PhD, MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Rd, Parktown, Johannesburg 2193, South Africa (emmcohen@outlook.fr).

Drs Cohen and Norris are supported by the South African DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Human development at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

All authors have read and approved the final manuscript. E.C. analyzed and interpreted the data. E.C. and P.J.G. drafted the manuscript. E.C., P.J.G., L.K.M., and S.A.N. provided critical revisions significantly improving the intellectual content. The study was supervised by L.K.M. and S.A.N.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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