Understanding body image perception and body image discontentment in early adolescence
Background: The mounting trends of beauty perceptions have contributed to distorted body image among adolescents. This demands understanding about current pointers of body image satisfaction to prevent eating disorders associated with mismanagement of weight in adolescents. Aim & Objective: The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to apprehend body image perception and dissatisfaction among adolescents (12-14years) across the genders and associate it with their actual BMI along with identifying the factors influencing body image perception. Settings and Design: A structured questionnaire was developed and administered on randomly selected 112 adolescents (68% boys & 34% girls, 12-14 years), mean age=12.8 ±0.45 from urban coeducational school of western India. Anthropometric measurements were taken with standardized tools and BMI z-scores were calculated. The actual and perceived weight was compared using paired t-test and descriptive statistics. Association between body image indicators, gender, and BMI were assessed using Chi-square test and One-way ANOVA. Factor analysis was done by Principal component analysis. Results: There was a significant difference in the perceived (M=2.31, SD=0.93) and actual BMI (M=1.96, SD=0.69), p=0.002. A significant association between gender and the influence of media idols, discrimination due to physical appearance and BMI was observed (p≤.0.005). Self-perception and judgements of others, behaviors related with self-fixation, social influence and inappropriate dietary practices and comparison with models and actors were the emerging factors identified. Conclusion: The body image perception was distorted among adolescents of both sexes, with higher body image discontent shown by girls. The perceived body image, when compared with their BMI was found to be incongruent across sexes.
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