Ideal weight varies across cultures, but body image dissatisfaction pervades

Oct 23, 2007

Different cultures have different standards and norms for appropriate body size and shape, which can effect how children perceive their body image. Some cultures celebrate a fuller body shape more than others, but researchers at the Center for Obesity Research and Education (CORE) at Temple University have found that an overweight or obese child can still be unhappy with his or her body, despite acceptance from within their ethnic group.

“This unhappiness is yet another consequence of childhood obesity,” said Gary Foster, Ph.D., director of CORE and president-elect of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. “These data illustrate when treating overweight children, it’s important to attend the psychological consequences that excess weight confers, no matter what the ethnic group.”

Researchers looked at data collected from 1,200 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders in 10 Philadelphia schools to determine the level of satisfaction each student had with his or her body image. After students answered a questionnaire to determine how satisfied they were with their bodies, the data were analyzed, taking into account race/ethnicity, gender and weight.

The findings will be presented at The North American Association for the Study of Obesity’s 2007 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans on Oct. 23. Among them: While obese and overweight children of all ethnicities were unsatisfied with their body image, Asian children had the highest levels of dissatisfaction among all ethnic groups tested.

“Culturally speaking, the ideal body shape is a lean one among Asian children,” said Foster. “In African-American and Latino cultures, being lean is not always the ideal.”

Most current studies on body image look at perceptions across one or two groups, mainly among Caucasians and African-Americans. But Foster noted that this study provides a rich sampling for a better understanding of how body image is perceived across different ethnic backgrounds.

Source: Temple University

Explore further: Experts denounce clinical trials of unscientific, 'alternative' medicines

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Myo armband and smartglasses set for deskless workplace

13 minutes ago

Thalmic Labs, Canada-based makers of the Myo armband, has announced the integration of Myo with smartglasses, with the partnership help of a number of companies pairing the Myo with their products. The gesture-control ...

Indonesian capital threatens to ban Uber car app

44 minutes ago

The Indonesian capital is threatening to shut down controversial smartphone car-hailing service Uber due to licensing issues a week after it officially launched in the city, an official said Wednesday.

NASA sees Tropical Storm Lowell's tough south side

52 minutes ago

The south side of Tropical Storm Lowell appears to be its toughest side. That is, the side with the strongest thunderstorms, according to satellite imagery from NOAA's GOES-14 and NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellites.

NASA image: Signs of deforestation in Brazil

1 hour ago

Multiple fires are visible in in this image of the Para and Mato Grosso states of Brazil. Many of these were most likely intentionally set in order to deforest the land. Deforestation is the removal of a ...

Celebrating 100 years of crystallography

1 hour ago

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of a revolutionary technique that underpins much of modern science, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) magazine last week released a special edition on X-ray crystallography—its past, ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0