CitationHeiland, Frank W. & Ali, Mir M. (2012). Black-white differences in the beauty-weight relationship. 2012 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carolina Population Center.
AbstractThis paper investigates the relationship between body weight, race, and beauty using interviewer-rated attractiveness of female adolescents using large samples of non-Hispanic white and African American female adolescents from the 1994 and 1996 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Accounting for interviewer effects, we find that obese white female adolescents are 37% less likely to be perceived as physically attractive compared to their non-obese counterparts. Obese black teenagers, on the other hand, are only 28% less likely to be rated physically attractive when compared to their non-obese counterparts. Similarly, we observe that the penalty associated with higher BMI is 30% smaller for black female adolescents as compared to whites. We also find evidence that obesity and higher BMI are more strongly (negatively) associated with having an attractive personality among white girls than among black girls. On the other hand, obesity and BMI are more strongly associated with physical maturity among black girls. We discuss our findings in the context of the literatures on obesity penalties and socio-cultural body size norms.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title2012 Add Health Users Conference
Author(s)Heiland, Frank W.
Ali, Mir M.