Body image dissatisfaction among rural and urban adolescents

  • Edio Luiz Petroski
  • Andreia Pelegrini
  • Maria Fátima Glaner


To identify the prevalence of body image dissatisfaction among adolescents living in rural and urban areas, and to analyze the influence of demographic and anthropometric variables on body image dissatisfaction. A total of 629 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years from urban and rural areas participated in the study. Demographic variables (gender, age, area of residence), anthropometric measurements (body weight, height, skinfold thickness) and body image data were collected. BMI (underweight: <18,5 kg/m2; normal weight: between 18,5 and 25,0 kg/m2; overweight: > 25 kg/m2) and the sum of two skinfold thicknesses, ƒ°2SF (girls: low: <16 mm, ideal: between 16 and 36 mm, high: >36 mm; boys: low: <12 mm, ideal: between 12 and 25 mm, high: >25 mm) were then calculated. The prevalence of body image dissatisfaction was similar (p.0,05) among rural (64,2%) and urban adolescents (62,8%). Boys wished to increase the size of their body silhouette (41,3%), whereas girls wished to reduce it (50,5%) (p<0,001). Adolescents with low and excess weight based on BMI and with high ƒ°2SF presented a 3,14, 8,45 and 2,08 times higher chance of body image dissatisfaction, respectively. A high prevalence of body image dissatisfaction was observed among adolescents from rural and urban areas. An unhealthy nutritional status and body adiposity increase the chances of body image dissatisfaction. These findings emphasize the social pressure on girls to remain slim and on boys to attain an athletic body.
Original Article

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