Associations between aspects of body image and lifestyle behaviours and attitudes in Otago adolescents
Background: Little is known about how New Zealand adolescents feel about their eating and bodies and how it is associated with body composition. Objective: To determine the association between food, feelings, behaviours and body image and (a) body composition and (b) other related factors in Otago adolescents. Design: Six hundred and eighty one adolescents between the ages of 15-18 years completed the Otago Students Secondary School Lifestyle Survey 2 (OSSLS2) in 2011. Height and weight were measured by trained research professionals. For this study we examined four subscales from the Food, Feelings, Behaviours and Body Image Questionaire (FFBBQ): concern about eating and weight; fear of weight gain; dietary restraint; and figure dissatisfaction. Associations between the four subscales and body composition, gender, physical activity, attitudes towards healthy eating and Diet Quality Index (DQI) scores were investigated using regression models.Results: There were significant differences in scores for concern about eating and weight, fear of weight gain, dietary restraint and figure dissatisfaction for males and females, and those at different weight status. Overweight and obese adolescents and female adolescents had significantly higher scores for all four subscales (all P>0.001) compared to normal weight adolescents and male adolescents, respectively. Overweight, obese adolescents and female adolescents were more concerned about their weight, practiced more dietary restraint, were more afraid of weight gain and were more dissatisfied with their figure. While 54% of female adolescents felt their body was “too fat”, only 28% of the females surveyed were classified as overweight or obese. While 26% of the males surveyed were overweight or obese, only 22% of males felt their body was “too fat”. Those who were meeting the physical activity guidelines had significantly lower figure dissatisfaction and concern about eating and weight scores. There were no statistically significant findings between any of the subscales and DQI score or attitudes towards healthy eating.Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of body dissatisfaction among Otago adolescents, which was more common in girls than boys, and not restricted to those carrying excess weight. Those who met the guidelines for physical activity reported lower figure dissatisfaction and less concern about eating and weight, compared to those not meeting the guidelines.
Advisor: Skidmore, Paula; Haszard, Jill
Degree Name: Master of Dietetics
Degree Discipline: Human Nutrition
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: body image; Otago; adolescents; New Zealand; body dissatisfaction
Research Type: Thesis