The prevalence of obesity is higher in African American compared to European American women. Ethnic differences in body-shape perceptions such as greater acceptance of overweight figures, higher levels of body shape satisfaction, or an underestimation of one's body-shape have been suggested as possible contributors. The purpose of this investigation was to compare body-shape perceptions and body mass index of older African American and European American women. Eighty-nine European American and 115 African American women (mean age, 72 years) completed a questionnaire, composed of three parts: general demographic and anthropometric information, and questions regarding body-shape perceptions. The results suggested an underestimation of body-shape in African American women as a possible contributor to obesity. The findings of the present study suggested that in order to enhance the effectiveness of dietary interventions in older African American women, measures to assess the accuracy of self-perceived body-shape should be included. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.