A Qualitative Study of the Experiences of Obesity, Body Image, and Mental Health of British-Born Afro-Caribbean Male Students at a West Yorkshire University in England

Mr.Johnson Mbabazi , Dorothy Nalweyiso, Fiona MacGregor, Jeff Breckon, Edward Kunonga, Barry Tolchard, Rosemary Dawson, Jennifer Teke, Josette Bettany-Saltikov, George William Kagugube, Lawrence Nnyanzi

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Abstract

Obesity, body image, and depression are all biopsychosocial phenomena that are frequently
misunderstood across cultures. Body dissatisfaction is a psychological aspect of obesity that has been
associated with disordered eating, low self-esteem, and depression. Nevertheless, body image
dissatisfaction may affect non-obese individuals too. Those with a positive body image are more likely to
participate in physical activity than those with a negative body image. Individuals who are satisfied with
their body image are more likely to possess high self-esteem, confidence, and healthy eating habits.
Obesity prevention among the black population is increasingly important. This study sought to examine
the perceptions and experiences of British-born Afro-Caribbean male students at a West Yorkshire
University in England regarding obesity, body image, and mental health. Twelve participants took part in
45-minute semi-structured interviews. The data was transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic
analysis. Results revealed four major themes: "healthy lifestyle monitoring," "body image attitude,"
"experiences of attempting to maintain weight," and "reasons for weight change." Clinically obese
individuals exhibited dissatisfaction with their body image. Depression was found to be strongly related to
dissatisfaction with one's body image. Obesity is stigmatized and associated with low self-esteem in
many societies in the United Kingdom, which impacts mental health. Future health promotion programs
should teach obese individuals who are dissatisfied with their body image to deal with emotions like
shame, guilt, and pride. Furthermore, individuals should adopt healthier eating habits and increase their
physical activity, which is a broad strategy to reduce the incidence of obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 4
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Volume2
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2023

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