Bodyweight Misperception by Chinese American Females Influenced by Cultural and Social Ideals: Implication for Home Health Care

Publication Date

August 2020

Document Type


Publication Title

Home Health Care Management & Practice







First Page


Last Page



Bodyweight misperception results from the desire to achieve an ideal body emphasized by cultural mores and societal norms. It is sustained by the desire to be cultural compliant, especially for ethnic minority women such as Chinese American females. Through cultural beliefs, these women’s self-perceived weight status is distorted, which strengthens the impact of bodyweight misperception in their daily life as poor physical health, distressed psychosocial health, risky and unsafe health practices and behaviors, and diminished quality of life. Evidently, bodyweight misperception promotes maladaptive health behaviors. However, bodyweight misperception is barely captured in the current science about women’s health, and is minimally explored in research about Chinese American females’ desire and efforts to achieve the ideal body type. Therefore, the purpose of this literature review was to explore (1) body weight perception, (2) the factors associated with it, and (3) the negative health consequences triggered by it, in Chinese American females. Studies confirm that Chinese American females shape their body weight perception by internalized cultural ideals, acculturative stress, mass media, and social pressures. They overestimate their body weight more than underestimate it as evident by frequent weight-loss attempts. This internalized bodyweight misperception affects their physical and psychological health, with undesirable consequences on their quality of life. Home health care professionals interact closely with patients from diverse cultural backgrounds; remaining culturally sensitive is crucial in their practice. Knowledge from this literature review emphasizes the need for culturally appropriate weight management strategies for the delivery of competent home health care to Chinese American females.


Chinese American, bodyweight misperception, weight dissatisfaction, body image, cultural competency, home health care


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