Effects of obesity on perception of ability and perception of body image in Portuguese children and adolescents

Miguel Peralta, Adilson Marques, João Martins, Hugo Sarmento, Francisco Carreiro da Costa

Abstract

Worldwide, the prevalence of child obesity is increasing, which is the cause of great preoccupation for governments and health politics developers. The purpose of this study was to examine differences of ability and body image perceptions related to weight status in children and adolescents and explore them as correlates of BMI. Two thousand five hundred and sixty nine adolescents participated in the study (1303 boys, 1266 girls; M age=13.3±2.4 years). The students were questioned about perceptions of ability and body image, and the body mass index was calculated. Findings revealed that overweight participants felt less athletic, agile, fast and fit and had overall lower self-image perception than normal weight participants; regardless of the age, perceptions of elegance and body mass decreased significantly with increasing BMI. Taking in consideration the dangers of overweight related to the perception of body image, it is important to start to develop effective intervention programs that combine physical activity and psychological support, exploring the benefits of strength training.


Keywords

Weight status; Physical activity; Intervention programs; Students

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2016.113.05