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Appearance-related body image, weight-control practices and anthropometric status of Brisbane adolescents

By Nuala M. Byrne


It is well documented that females are more dissatisfied than males with physical appearance in general, and body weight in particular. Studies on adult populations indicate that preoccupation with body weight and shape is reflected in the adoption of restrictive dietary practices and other harmful methods of weight regulation. Few studies have considered gender differences in the relationship between body image and weight-control practices across childhood and adolescence. However, recent research suggests that disturbances in diet and appearance-related attitudes and behaviours are well established by adolescence. The current study investigated appearance-related body image utilising both perceptual and subjective assessment techniques, tendencies toward disordered eating practices, and motivations for exercise participation, in a group of 517 adolescent males and females. In addition, the study assessed whether the gender-differences regarding body image could be attributed to body composition and/or perceptual differences in weight-related measures.\ud \ud The results suggest that the gender differences in appearance-related body image and weight-control practices cited in studies of adults are present in adolescents. Whilst these gender differences may originate as a function of pubertal timing, they seem to be reinforced by the societal emphasis on ideal body types that are less biologically attainable for females than males. In accordance with previous research, females were more likely than males to report preoccupation with body weight and shape, maladaptive eating behaviours such as dieting and fasting, and exercising for weight-control and to improve muscle tone. Motivations to exercise such as attractiveness, weightcontrol, and improving tone, were significantly correlated with body dissatisfaction and tendencies toward dietary restriction. The results also indicated that there is a need for further research to devise measurement protocols that can be employed to assess appearance-related body image and weight-control practices across the lifespan

Topics: Body image in adolescence Queensland Brisbane, Weight loss Queensland Brisbane, Anthropometry Queensland Brisbane, Adolescence Queensland Brisbane, thesis, masters, body image, weight-control practices, anthropometry, diet, exercise, body composition, eating-disorders
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 1994
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