Assessing Body Image Perception among Children aged 10-14, and their Caregivers

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2021

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Desai, Shivani
Fernando, Shane
Habiba, Nusrath
Fulda, Kimberly
Bowman, William

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Abstract

Purpose: The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in children continues to rise in the country. According to the ADA, in 2011-2012, the annual incidence of diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 5,300 with T2DM. Not only can T2DM be managed with appropriate measures but also be prevented if the risk factors are identified. Methods: 10-14 year-old children and their caregivers participated in a 2-hour research study in which questions about body silhouettes were asked. Child subjects identified which body silhouettes (gradient from 1: very thin to 9: obese) they currently looked like and the ones they wished to look like. Similarly, parents were asked to do the same for their child. Results: Male and female children wanted their desired silhouette number to be less than the number they picked for their current shape. The amount of male children who chose silhouette numbers 1-5 increased by 39% between their current and desired shape and for female children the increase was by 28%. For parents of male children, the increase was by 47% and for parents of female children, the increase was by 15%. Conclusion: This study suggests that the perception of desiring a thinner body were similar between male and female children and their parents. These body silhouettes may have potential as a screening tool for body image and healthy behaviors. Through this model, health care professionals can gauge their patient's perception on their body weight and help them facilitate conversation towards healthy behaviors.

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