Body image and body mass index: An investigation of preadolescent low-income, urban ethnic minority girls
Utilizing a sample of low-income, urban preadolescent African American and Latina girls, this study examined ethnic differences in two aspects of body image (i.e., body dissatisfaction and weight descriptions), and determined if this relation varied as a function of age. This study also examined the relation between the body image variables and self-esteem and BMI and self-esteem, and determined if these relations differed depending on age or ethnicity. Participants were recruited from 3rd through 5th grade at five Chicago Public Schools, and completed measures of body dissatisfaction, weight descriptions, self-esteem, and had their anthropometric measurements taken. Results showed that Latina girls experienced more body dissatisfaction than African American girls, while no differences emerged for weight descriptions. Body dissatisfaction was the only variable that was significantly related to self-esteem, and this relation was strongest for younger, Latina girls. Overall, older girls in the sample demonstrated higher self-esteem and decreased body dissatisfaction. These findings have important implications for developing prevention and intervention programs, and explanations for understanding these results are discussed.