How we view others and ourselves can have a very powerful influence on our lives and how we make decisions. The purpose of this study was to observe self-selected body size images for oneself, self-selected body size figures for a healthy, overweight and obese figure, and the relationship between self-selected body size figures and physical activity (PA) in young adult, male and female, college students (n=34, aged 18-22). During the spring of 2015, PA was measured for seven consecutive days using both accelerometers and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). For accelerometer data, 3-day means were computed. Self-selected body size figures were assessed using the Body Image Assessment Scale-Body Dimensions (BIAS-BD) along with selected demographics. Participants chose what they thought represented their own body figure, and a healthy, overweight, and obese body figure. The self-selected body size figures were then compared to PA. No relationship between self-reported and measured PA was found (p=0.13), therefore only accelerometer data were used when reporting findings. When comparing self-selected body size figures and accelerometer-measured PA for the total sample, as self-selected body size figure increased, the amount of time doing moderate-vigorous activity decreased (p=0.04). The implication is that a higher perceived body size could be a barrier to physical activity. When comparing self-selected body figure size and what image represented a healthy, overweight, or obese body figure, there were similarities in both males and females. As self-selected body size figure went up, what they thought a healthy person looked like increased as well, significantly for females (p=0.025) and trending for males (p=0.059). For females, there was no significant association between self-selected body size figure and what they perceived as overweight and obese, however, for males there was. As self-selected body size figure increased, what males thought an overweight and obese person looked like decreased (p=0.034 and p=0.045, respectively). There was an outlier, which when removed, no association was evident. With a larger sample size, the original association might be confirmed. It is interesting to study body size figures from the perspective of gender and influence on physical activity.
Murray, Amber D., "Associations Between Self-Selected Body Size Figures and Physical Activity in Young Adult College Students" (2016). Honors College. 412.