Body Image: Factors and Parallels with the Physical Status

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Laboratorinė medicina. 2009,
t. 11,
Nr. 4,
p. 215 -
222

Body Image: Factors and Parallels with the Physical Status

Eglė Sakalauskaitė, Janina Tutkuvienė

 

Summary

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.

 

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