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Misperception of Healthy Weight: Associations Among Weight, Body Size Satisfaction and Body Appreciation in Older Adults

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Abstract

Misperceived body weight in older people can affect their health and quality of life. We analysed the body image of older adults in Primary Health Care services in central Portugal, by considering participants’ weight, body size satisfaction and body appreciation. This epidemiological and cross-sectional study involved 150 participants (56% women) with an average age of 74.9 years who completed questionnaires on body size and body appreciation. Forty-nine percent of participants were affected by overweight and 29% by obesity. The majority was not satisfied with their body size (71.2%), but had very high scores related to body appreciation. Around 40% of the participants with normal weight or overweight were satisfied with their body size. Multiple regression analysis revealed that both body size satisfaction and appreciation were negatively associated with obesity, but not with overweight. Older Portuguese adults are not able to assess if their weight is a risk to their health, but regardless of their perceived physical appearance, the elderly respect their body and are receptive to improving their health.

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Correspondence to Maria Piedade Brandão.

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Brandão, M.P., Fonseca Cardoso, M. Misperception of Healthy Weight: Associations Among Weight, Body Size Satisfaction and Body Appreciation in Older Adults. J Primary Prevent 41, 1–14 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10935-019-00573-0

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Keywords

  • Body size
  • Elderly
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Primary health care