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Adolescent body image: A health promotion challenge.

Brown, KA and Barnett, J Adolescent body image: A health promotion challenge. In: International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity, 2009-06-17 - 2009-06-20, Lisbon, Portugal.

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Adolescent body image: A health promotion challenge. Purpose Body image can be related to measures of self-esteem, health behaviours and emotional stability, therefore is important for successful health promotion strategies to understand the multi-faceted relationship between healthy eating and self perception. This is particularly poignant when targeting adolescents who are developing a greater autonomy over health attitudes and behaviours which often coincides with greater risk taking behaviour. This study explored the factors associated with perceived body dissatisfaction and greater disparity between perceived healthy and ideal body images in adolescents to inform the development of successful health promotion strategies. Methods Results taken from a larger survey of >3000 adolescents aged 12-17 sampled across the island of Ireland funded by safefood food safety promotion board. Variables measured included those of self reported dietary behaviour, BMI, nutritional knowledge, control, identity. In addition current, ideal, healthiest and most attractive body image measures were taken by an indication mark under different contour drawing scales of 9 graduated drawings. Results Expected gender differences were seen where little difference was observed between boy scores of current (#), ideal (#), healthiest (#) or most attractive (#) body image, whereas girls’ current body image was on average indicated to be the largest (#), followed by healthiest (#), ideal (#) and then most attractive (#). The similarity between girl ideal and attractive scores supports existing research that girls may potentially sacrifice health for attractiveness (t-test differences between ideal&attractive vs current/healthy?). Minimal relationship seen (#) between dietary behaviour or nutritional knowledge and perceived body image of any kind. Average body dissatisfaction (current minus ideal) in boys had a low distribution (#) indicating a similar number wished to be larger as smaller than their current perceived body image. In girls a greater degree of overall dissatisfaction with a larger distribution of scores was seen (#) with two thirds of girls who wished to be smaller. Body image dissatisfaction did not appear to vary with the demographic factors measured; however when data was split by age x gender interestingly it was seen that older boys wished to be larger than their current size, while older girls wish to be smaller (#). Current body image did not predict dietary behaviour however desire to be smaller did (#) Food intake seen primarily in terms of weight control as opposed to health of diet. Gender difference, girls greater degree of dissatisfaction with general desire to be thinner rather than healthier, however 2 thirds of girls wished to be thinner there wsa a third of girls who wished to be larger. Half of the boys wished to be larger perhaps suggesting a desire for a mature figure. Conclusions Health promotion strategies need to take into account the different perceived weight concerns of girls and boys and the implication that girls may not be as receptive to nutritional or healthy focused communications as they might be to attractiveness or perceived ideal weight related communications.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Poster)
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Brown, KA
Barnett, J
Additional Information : Poster presented at the International Society for Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 17 Jun 2009 - 20 Jun 2009
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 27 Aug 2014 10:15
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 16:53

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