Preadolescent Body Image and Body Mass Index

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Megan Hauser (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Physical and psychological changes occur during middle childhood and the time preparing for adolescence. Healthy body image is a key factor in developing healthy physical and psychosocial habits among preadolescents. There is more documented research on body image and lifestyle habits among females. The purpose of this research was to investigate Body Mass Index (BMI) and perceived body image among male and female adolescents, and to investigate if nutrition education lessons regarding healthy lifestyles can influence body image. Six preadolescent children’s weight and height were measured using a stadiometer in order to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) (kg/m2) and assess BMI categories (underweight, normal, overweight, obese). An evaluation of children’s personal body image using the Gardner 13-figure schematic contour scale and the CDC 13-item body image questionnaire was used before and after nutrition education lessons were presented. Four 30-minute nutrition education lessons focused on healthy eating habits, physical activity, and self-esteem. All participants had low self-esteem related to body image during the nutrition education lessons. All participants reported a positive body image or total body image score at pre- and post-test. When investigating body image discrepancy, participants in each BMI category reported slight differences in desire to change their body figure. Body image discrepancy was lower after interventions were conducted and four of the six participants increased in their total body image scores. Future research and interventions aimed at targeting children and adolescents can encourage healthy living and positive body image.

Additional Information

Hauser, Megan. 2015. Preadolescent Body Image and Body Mass Index. Unpublished manuscript, Honors College, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C.
Language: English
Date: 2015
Body mass index, Preadolescent, Body image

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