Is Being a Boy and Feeling Fat a Barrier for Physical Activity? The Association between Body Image, Gender and Physical Activity among Adolescents

Jaroslava Kopcakova*, Zuzana Dankulincova Veselska, Andrea Madarasova Geckova, Jitse P. van Dijk, Sijmen A. Reijneveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Regular physical activity leads to physical and mental health benefits. Previous studies have shown physical activity to be associated with body image and gender. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to explore the associations of body image with physical activity of adolescents and whether gender modifies this association. We obtained data on body image and physical activity as part of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children study in 2010 from Slovakia (n = 8042, age 11-15 years, 49% boys, response rate: 79.5%). Adolescents answered questions about their body image and the frequency of their physical activity. Sufficient physical activity was more likely in adolescents perceiving themselves as fat (OR = 0.63, 95% CI 0.54-0.73) and in boys (OR = 2.15, 95% CI 1.92-2.42). A poor body image among girls was not associated with physical activity, whereas among boys it was associated with less physical activity. Gender seems to moderate the relationship between body image and physical activity in youths. Health promotion should be targeted in particular at boys with a negative body image, as they are at higher risk of physical inactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11167-11176
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume11
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27-Oct-2014

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • body image
  • physical activity
  • gender
  • SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR
  • CHILDREN
  • HEALTH
  • DISSATISFACTION
  • EXERCISE
  • PATTERNS

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