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J Women Aging. 1998;10(3):19-39.

Social physique anxiety in postmenopausal women.

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Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1582, USA.


Social physique anxiety (SPA), the degree to which individuals become anxious when others observe their bodies, is an important concept for postmenopausal women because it may be directly related to their physical activity behavior. Women with high levels of social physique anxiety may not participate in health-enhancing physical activity. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to examine SPA in postmenopausal women relative to leisure time physical activity (LTPA, activities such as exercise, recreation, and sports). Other factors, such as percent body fat, body fat distribution, age, and hormone replacement therapy status were also examined for their relationship to SPA. Women who expended < or = 500 kcal.wk-1 in LTPA had significantly higher SPA than women who expended > or = 2,000 kcal.wk-1, independent of percent body fat. Women with more than 37.5% body fat had significantly higher SPA than those with less than 37.5% body fat. Women with upper BFD (waist-to-hip ratio or WHR > 0.85) had higher SPA than women with lower BFD (WHR < 0.75). There were no differences in SPA relative to age or HRT status. It appears that a sedentary lifestyle, high percent body fat, and upper body fat distribution are associated with increased SPA in postmenopausal women, thus health promotion professionals should be aware of these concerns when developing physical activity interventions for postmenopausal women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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