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Body Image. 2005 Sep;2(3):233-47. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

The relative contributions of subjective and objective measures of body shape and size to body image and disordered eating in women.

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Regional Assessment and Resource Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont., Canada K7L 3K1.


This research explored the relative contributions of subjective perceptions of body weight and body shape/proportion, as well as objective measures of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) to disordered eating, exercise involvement, and body image. One hundred and fifty-eight female university students completed questionnaires and provided body measurements for this study. Although an interaction between BMI and WHR was found for some measures (i.e., Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire total and subscale scores), results indicated that BMI was consistently the better objective predictor of disordered eating and body image. Subjective perceptions of body weight and, to a lesser extent, body shape, were found to account for the greatest proportion of variance in the dependent measures (disordered eating, body esteem, and body dissatisfaction). Overall, these results offer more support for sociocultural theories emphasizing the importance of thinness for women, than evolutionary theories emphasizing the role of WHR.

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