Perception of one’s body and physical activity in adolescents

Authors: Bartocha E., Górecka A., Szynal M., Knapik A.

Published online: 16 August 2018

Background: Adolescence is a very important stage of a human growth, because it is the period of time when body image is being created. It may affect many aspects of teenagers’ life, one of them is physical activity. The aim of the study was to examine relations between teenagers’ self-assessment of the body and physical activity.

Material/Methods: The study involved 449 people, including 186 women (41.43%) and 263 men (58.57%), from secondary and post-secondary schools around Silesia. Age of respondents: 13-19 years (x = 15.43, SD = 1.84). Participation in the study was voluntary. The research was based on the anonymous questionnaire, which included metrical part (questions about teenagers’ sex, age, height and weight). Participation in the Physical Education lessons was also questioned. Physical activity level was measured on the basis of modified Baecke questionnaire. Teenagers’ self-assessment of the body was examined by using Body Esteem Scale (BES).

Results: Girls with better results in every domain BES were more physically active than girls with lower self-assessment. High self-assessment of boys in “strength and agility” and “physical condition” domains correlated with higher level of Physical Activity Index. Among boys “physical attractiveness” domain was not differentiating Physical Activity Index level.

Conclusions: Positive self-assessment of the teenagers’ body is beneficial for physical activity regardless of sex. Among girls, high self-assessment in all three domains of selfesteem is correlated with higher physical activity level, among boys it is related to functional aspects of the body.