Body Image: Factors and Parallels with the Physical Status
Eglė Sakalauskaitė, Janina Tutkuvienė
Body image is a complex somatic and psychic dimension the principal components of which are still identified incompletely. Studies on body image are far from being unambiguous - scientists give a great variety of diverse interpretations. The present study analyzes the parallels between body image and physfcal status, reviews the body image factors, the actuality of body image concerns for human biologists, phy- si cians, psy chol o gists, ped agogues, public health specialists and general public. The body image is influenced by the variety of internal and external factors. The standards of beauty, ideal body size and shape were constantly changing during the different epochs and within the different cultures. The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents is dramatically increasing recently, however, the ideal of body beauty is getting thinner, and the body becomes of the unrealistic shape, consequently, the body size dissatisfaction is increasing, unhealthy dieting and eating disorders spreads among the individuals of different age and sex. The geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic differences of the body image still persist, nevertheless, the “ideal” females body is getting thinner even in the de vel op ing countries, and the “ideal” males body changes due to the globalization and the assimilation of cultures. The unrealistic standards of beauty advocated by the society and mass media stimulate the body dissatisfaction among children and adolescents, influence their negative self-esteem. It is well known that girls have the incorrect self-esteem of body size and shape rather frequently in comparison with boys, however, recently body dissatisfaction is growing among young males also. Besides, even very young children are distressed with their body size and shape causeless, even thin girls and women have the desire to loose the weight, hence, the risk of hazardous behaviour and eating disorders increases. Therefore it is particularly important for children to acquire the correct opinion about their own bodies and to judge the information in mass media critically.
Keywords: body size, body image, body dissatisfaction, self esteem, eating disorders.