Self-perception of Physical Appearance in Adolescents: Gender, Age and Ethnic Aspects
The study used cross-sectional data of 462 girls and 372 boys of Russian ethnicity and 90 Kalmyk girls 12-17-year-olds. In both groups children were examined by the same researchers according to the same research protocol. All of the observations have been performed in agreement with bioethical procedures; protocols of consent were filled either by the subject (elder children) or by his/her parent(s). Standing height, weight, body circumferences and skinfolds thickness were taken on each individual according to the standard technique. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated. In Arkhangelsk city 114 boys and 172 girls among the total number of studied subjects filled in the questionnaires, and in Elista – 34 girls among 90. Data sets were divided according to sex, age, somatotypes and ethnicity. The results of the present study showed significant correlations between somatotypes of the subjects, their BMI and self-estimation of their physical appearance. In self-perception of one’s body, weight was the most important characteristics in girls, while in boys it was stature. No differences were found in most of self-evaluation scores between Russian girls of Arkhangelsk city and Kalmyk girls of Elista, apart from the fact that the latter had lower scores in the estimation of their body shape, possibly because they were fatter. The strategies chosen by the adolescents for modifications of their bodies in their quest for »ideal« figures were in favor of dieting versus physical activity, which puts the question of popularization of physical culture and sports on a nation-wide scale.
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