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Study of eating attitudes and body image perception in the preadolescent age.

  • Marković, J
  • Votava-Raić, A
  • Nikolić, S
Published Article
Collegium Antropologicum
Croatian Anthropological Society
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1998
PMID: 10097438


Eating attitudes and body image have been studied in a group of 109 girls, pupils of the fifth primary school grade (average age 10 years and 8 months). The Children's Eating Attitude Test (ChEAT) has been used in the study of eating attitudes. The mean questionnaire score is 11.38 +/- 8 with a range of 0 to 45. Fourteen girls (12.8%) had a total score higher than 20, making them an eating disorder risk group. A set of seven schematic figures showing silhouettes of girls ranging from very thin to very heavy has been used in the study of body image perception. The girls were supposed to indicate the figure having the highest resemblance to their own figure (self figure), and the figure they would like to have (ideal self figure). The mean value of the current figure was 4.28, and that of the ideal figure 3.95. Satisfaction with their figure was expressed by 46.79% of the girls; 39.45% wanted to be thinner, and 13.45% to be heavier. When these data were compared with BMI, 27.52% (of the total) of the girls wanting to be thinner were found to have a normal BMI, and 11.93% a > 95 centile BMI. Among the girls satisfied with their figure 2 had a low and 2 a high BMI, while 43.12% were within the normal BMI range. Out of the 13.45% of girls wanting to be heavier, 6.42% (of the total) had a low BMI, 6.42% a normal BMI, and 0.92% (one girl) a > 95 centile BMI. The girls were divided into two groups in terms of the ChEAT score: ChEAT+ (anorexia risk) and ChEAT-. The groups differed in terms of body weight and BMI (the ChEAT+ group was heavier); ChEAT+ girls tended to prefer a thinner figure and experienced themselves as being heavier.

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