Application of the embodiment model of positive body image and physical activity across age, gender and weight status


This study examined differences in multidimensional indicators of positive body image (PBI; functional appreciation, body appreciation, body responsiveness, embodiment, and authentic pride) based on age, gender and body mass index (BMI) classification and their relationship to physical activity (PA). A total of 4517 participants (age 18-75 years) completed demographic information and measures of PBI and PA. A total of 1685 participants (37%) had complete data (51% women). Participants were classified into one of four age groups: young (18-29 years), middle (30-44 years), middle older (45-64 years), and older (?65 years) adults. BMI was calculated from body mass (kg) and height (m2), and participants were classified as normal weight, overweight, or obese based on BMI. There were significant gender-by-age and gender-by-BMI class interactions on body appreciation. Older adult men and women scored higher compared to other age categories; young and middle older adult women scored lower than young and middle older adult men. Overweight and obese women scored lower compared to overweight and obese men, and obese men and women scored lower compared to lower BMI classifications. There was also a significant age-by-BMI class interaction on authentic pride, where obese men and women scored lower compared to lower BMI classifications. Total PA had a weak (r = .201 - .390, p = <.001) positive relationships with all PBI measures. This study provides preliminary results regarding social identity differences on PBI. Further research should explore how the intersectionality of social identities may play a role in the relationship between PA and PBI.

Acknowledgments: This study is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada Graduate Scholarship.