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Am J Prev Med. 2008 Jul;35(1):68-72. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.03.017.

Body satisfaction effect on thorough skin self-examination.

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Institute for Community Health Promotion, Brown University, Department of Community Health, Providence, Rhode Island 02912, USA.



Melanoma and obesity have both increased in recent years. Given the propensity of body dissatisfaction among the obese, the objectives of this paper were to determine how body satisfaction might influence skin examination and to examine differences in this relationship by gender among the participants of Check-It-Out, a study to increase thorough skin self-examination (TSSE).


Through primary care offices, 2126 participants were recruited from April 2000 to November 2001 for the baseline cross-sectional telephone data from the Check-It-Out study. TSSE was defined as the self-reported examination of all seven key areas of the body. Body satisfaction was reported based on the degree of disagreement or agreement with the statement I like the way my body looks. Analyses were conducted in 2005 and 2006.


Among participants, 18% reported performing TSSE, 34% were normal or underweight, 36% were overweight, and 30% were obese. Overall, 23% strongly agreed, 45% somewhat agreed, 19% somewhat disagreed, and 12% strongly disagreed with the statement I like the way my body looks. Body satisfaction was less common among women than men. The odds of conducting TSSE were 1.6 for the total sample (1.9 for women and 1.2 for men) for those with strong agreement that they like the way their body looks. In multivariate analysis, body satisfaction was associated with TSSE performance for women and both genders together, along with the availability of a partner (both genders together and men), the availability of a wall mirror, the advice of a physician, and the use of glasses or contacts(women only).


Body satisfaction is an important factor in TSSE performance, especially among women, and should be considered along with other risk factors.

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