The purpose of this naturalistic study was to compare values held by 36 white and 31 black women related to body size, and to identily factors that influence these values and linkages between body size values and weight management activities. Black women of lower SES were significantly different from black women of higher SES and white women, regardless of SES, in that they were heavier, viewed themselves as heavier, and perceived attractive body size as heavier. Black lower status women had to become a great deal heavier than the other groups before they defined themselves as overweight. We suggest that black lower social status women have a wider range of “normal” and attractive body size and that this wider range is developed from comparisons of other women in their social milieu and influences the initiation of weight loss activities. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.