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Body Dissatisfaction Measured with a Figure Preference Task and Self-Esteem in 8 Year Old Children - a Study within the ABIS-Project

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Author(s): F.S. Koch | J. Ludvigsson | A. Sepa

Journal: Clinical Medicine : Pediatrics
ISSN 1178-220X

Volume: 2;
Issue: Obesity;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: body dissatisfaction | self-esteem | reliability | epidemiology | psychological stress

ABSTRACT
Body dissatisfaction has been related to low self-esteem and depression in adolescents. With regard to the current world wide rise in childhood obesity and common stigmatization of adults and children with obesity, easy to use and cost effective measurements of body dissatisfaction would be helpful in epidemiological research. In the current study, detailed data on body measurements with regard to perceived and ideal body size and body dissatisfaction, as measured with the figure preference task, are presented for a population based sample of 3837 children. Perceived body size correlations to weight, body mass index [BMI], and waist circumference were between 0.41 and 0.54; and to height between 0.12 and 0.21. Odds ratios for lower self-esteem increased with increase in body dissatisfaction. Gender differences in body dissatisfaction were present but not found in relation to self-esteem. It is concluded that the figure preference task yields valuable information in epidemiological studies of children as young as 7.5 years of age. It is argued, that the figure preference task is an additional measurement which theoretically relates to psychological stress in childhood.
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