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Int J Eat Disord. 2003 Sep;34(2):244-50.

Body images of 4-8-year-old girls at the outset of their first artistic gymnastics class.

Author information

1
Department of Exercise Science, University of Georgia, Ramsey Student Center, Athens 30602-6554, USA. mpoudevigne@yahoo.com

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The primary objective of this investigation was to compare body images of 54 girls (4-8 years old) who were beginning their first gymnastics class to 54 age-matched (+/-1 year) and % body fat-matched (+/-3%) girls not participating in gymnastics.

METHOD:

Ratings of actual and ideal body size and a computed measure of body dissatisfaction (actual minus ideal) were obtained. Body composition was measured with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.

RESULTS:

Girls beginning gymnastics did not differ significantly from controls on (mean +/- SD) actual (2.2 +/- 1.4 vs. 2.1 +/- 1.4), ideal (1.8 +/- 1.3 vs. 1.8 +/- 1.5), or body dissatisfaction (0.39 +/- 1.8 vs. 0.26 +/- 1.4) scores.

DISCUSSION:

Body images of 4-8-year-old girls beginning their first artistic gymnastics class do not differ from non-gymnast controls matched on age and % body fat. This observation casts doubt on the idea that young girls who are dissatisfied with their body and want to be smaller are more likely to enroll in gymnastics classes than girls without this type of body dissatisfaction.

PMID:
12898561
DOI:
10.1002/eat.10157
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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