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Body Dissatisfaction Measured with a Figure Preference Task and Self-Esteem in 8 Year Old Children: a Study within the ABIS-Project
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Paediatrics in Linköping.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Pediatrics. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Clinical Medicine Insights: Pediatrics, ISSN 1179-5565, Vol. 2, 13-26 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Body dissatisfaction has been related to low self-esteem and depression in adolescents. With regard to the current world wide rise in childhood obesity and common stigmatization of adults and children with obesity, easy to use and cost effective measurements of body dissatisfaction would be helpful in epidemiological research. In the current study, detailed data on body measurements with regard to perceived and ideal body size and body dissatisfaction, as measured with the figure preference task, are presented for a population based sample of 3837 children. Perceived body size correlations to weight, body mass index [BMI], and waist circumference were between 0.41 and 0.54; and to height between 0.12 and 0.21. Odds ratios for lower self-esteem increased with increase in body dissatisfaction. Gender differences in body dissatisfaction were present but not found in relation to self-esteem. It is concluded that the figure preference task yields valuable information in epidemiological studies of children as young as 7.5 years of age. It is argued, that the figure preference task is an additional measurement which theoretically relates to psychological stress in childhood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Auckland, New Zealand: Libertas Academica Ltd. , 2008. Vol. 2, 13-26 p.
Keyword [en]
body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, reliability, epidemiology, psychological stress
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16924OAI: diva2:174742
Available from: 2009-02-24 Created: 2009-02-24 Last updated: 2015-11-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Stress and Obesity in Childhood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stress and Obesity in Childhood
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Stress och fetma i barndomen
Abstract [en]

Childhood obesity is a serious health problem and prevalence increases dramatically around the world, including Sweden. The aim of the current thesis was to examine parents’ and children’s stress in relation to childhood obesity. Parenting stress, social support, parental worries, and serious life events, as well as children’s temperament, self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, saliva cortisol, weight and height were measured to estimate stress and the relation between stress and childhood obesity. Data was collected as part of the cohort project All Babies in Southeast Sweden (ABIS) which main aim is to understand the causes of Type 1 Diabetes. All 21700 children born between October 1997 and October 1999 in Southeast Sweden and their parents were invited to participate and questionnaires were completed for 16070 children at birth. Questionnaires were then collected at follow-ups at 1 year (N=11078), at 2-3 years (N=8803), at 5-6 years (N=7443), and at 8 years (N=3959). The main findings were a relation between parents’ psychological stress and lower self-esteem of children, a relation between parenting stress and higher cortisol levels of children, and a relation between children’s body dissatisfaction and lower self-esteem. Another main finding was a relation between cumulative psychological stress and an increased prevalence of childhood obesity. The current thesis summarized these results, found good validity of the instruments, and the analyses did not indicate any systematic attrition due to stress. It is concluded that the psychological variables reported by parents can be used as proxies for children’s experience of stress in epidemiological studies such as ABIS, and that psychological stress seems to be a contributing factor in childhood obesity. This relation needs to be studied further in order to better understand and intervene in the current epidemic of childhood obesity. These findings may also help to better examine if psychological stress and childhood obesity are contributing factors in the etiology of Type 1 Diabetes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2009. 85 p.
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1100
Psychological stress, parents, children, obesity, self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, epidemiology
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16926 (URN)978-91-7393-697-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-03-13, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, ingång 65, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:00 (English)
Alla Barn i Sydöstra Sverige - ABIS
Available from: 2009-03-06 Created: 2009-02-25 Last updated: 2009-08-21Bibliographically approved

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