Body image in a representative sample of overweight, obese and normal weight active older women living in the community: associations with body composition, physical fitness and function

Public in Medical Express (Sao Paulo, online) 2016 August;3(4):M160402. Written by Vagner Raso, Carol Ewing GarberII, Rafael Benito Mancini, Sandra Marcela Mahecha Matsudo


OBJECTIVE: To compare and examine relationships between body image (BI), body composition and physical function in overweight and normal weight active older women. METHOD: We measured body mass (BM), body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WAIST), grip strength (GS), lower limb muscle strength [LLMS], arm curl, balance, step-in-place test (SIPT), usual walk (WALK), fast walking (fastWALK), single chair stand (CHAIRtime) and repeated chair stand (CHAIRreps) in 398 overweight or obese women (67.2 ± 8.5 years; BMI > 27 kg•m2 ) and 302 women with a BMI < 27 kg•m2 (67.3 ± 8.5 years). Current (CBI) and ideal body image (IBI), and body dissatisfaction (DS; current – ideal) were determined by participant’s responses to standardized silhouettes. RESULTS: Multiple regression analyses verified positive (CBI) and negative associations (DS) for balance in obese category. A positive association with WALK and fastWALK was observed for current (normal weight and obesity categories) and IBI (overweight). There were positive associations for SIPT, arm curl and CHAIRreps. CONCLUSION: Physically active older women showed an elevated prevalence of dissatisfaction regardless of BMI which was mediated by age, and associated with worsened physical function; similar associations were seen for current body image.

KEYWORDS: Body composition, body image, body mass index, physical function, walking.

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