Journal of Community Nursing - page 96

96 JCN
2013,Vol 27, No 4
MENTAL HEALTH
The study found that weight
and shape preoccupation certainly
interfere with an individual’s life.
Weight preoccupation was associated
with poor self-image, feeling fat, and
reduced satisfaction with present
weight, all of which are influenced
by perceived physical attractiveness
(Davis et al, 2001; Gingras et al, 2004;
Colabianchi et al, 2006).
Furthermore, weight preoccupation
has the potential to interfere with
one’s life — stress and coping can act
as mediators to weight preoccupation,
where perceived stress reinforces
the relationship between variables
like BMI and weight preoccupation
(Denisoff and Endler, 2000; Murray et
al, 2011).
The social environment also
impacts an individual’s body
satisfaction (Blowers et al, 2003;
Bailey and Ricciardelli, 2010). In the
study, female friends were identified
as having a significant influence
on weight preoccupation, as was
comparing oneself to other females.
In a university setting, primary
contact with friends can reinforce
socio-cultural factors around food,
including where students eat; what
they eat; how they eat; and how
they perceive their bodies — all of
which can result in an individual’s
internalisation of the desire to be thin
(Blowers et al, 2003).
Compounding the influence of
the women’s social environment
is the media’s impact on weight
preoccupation (Veldhuis et al,
2012). Magazines, television
commercials and films often depict
disproportionate female body shapes
and lower sizes than those typically
found in healthy women, all of which
has been identified as an influence on
weight and shape preoccupation.
Weight preoccupation among
women at the authors’university
rose between 1989 and 1996 (Branen,
1989), but slightly declined between
1999 and 2010. Using a similar sample
of university students in 1989, 25%
of the female students ages 18 to 23
years were found to be preoccupied
with their weight (Branen, 1989). This
rose to 35% in 1996 and declined
slightly to 31% in 2010.
Shape preoccupation is a newer
phenomenon previously recognised
by Branen (1989) and more commonly
identified as‘body dissatisfaction’
(Blowers et al, 2003; Bailey and
Ricciardelli, 2010).
Individuals who are not just
concerned about weight, but
also about body shape, can place
themselves at additional risk, for
example engaging in excessive
exercise coupled with dieting.
STUDY LIMITATIONS
Although participants were randomly
selected, results from this study cannot
be generalised and further research is
needed to examine the phenomena
of weight and shape preoccupation
in other geographical settings and
with different age groups. While
the prevalence of weight and shape
preoccupation has decreased in the
last decade, additional research is
needed to determine if this trend will
continue or whether it will increase
with the continued efforts to address
obesity in the US (Flegal et al, 2010).
CONCLUSION
Weight and shape preoccupation
can lead to poor dietary intake,
unhealthy weight loss practices
(Yanover and Thompson, 2008),
Table 2:
Relationship of weight preoccupation status and various factors (n=116)
Factors
x
2
df
p-value
Teased about being overweight
6.77
4
0.148
Teased about being underweight
7.58
4
0.108
Weight gain changed self-image
16.57
4
0.002**
Influence of others on dieting
Mother
5.46
4
0.243
Father
6.06
5
0.301
Sister(s)
2.6
5
0.761
Brother(s)
4.68
5
0.456
Girlfriend(s)
13.22
5
0.021*
Boyfriends(s)
4.22
5
0.519
Presently feel fat
15.88
3
0.001**
Comparing body to other females
18.92
4
0.001**
Satisfaction with present weight
30.45
4
0.000***
Media influence on feelings about
body
14.97
4
0.005**
How often weight on mind
45.61
4
0.000***
Weight preoccupation interferes
with life
46.8
3
0.000***
Diagnosed with eating disorder
5.04
2
0.08
Shape preoccupation
69.88
4
0.000***
* = p <.05, ** = p <.01, *** = p <.001
Answer the following questions
about this article, either to test the
new knowledge you have gained or
to form part of your ongoing practice
development portfolio.
1 – What is weight/shape
preoccupation?
2 – Name some of the crucial factors
that can contribute to weight/
shape preoccupation.
3 – What are some of the symptoms of
body dissatisfaction?
4 – Can you explain the media’s impact
on weight/shape preoccupation?
5 – Can you detail one intervention
that may aid your future practice?
Five-minute test
1...,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,94,95 97,98,99,100,101,102,103,104,105,106,...116