Journal article Open Access

SUBCLINICAL DISORDERED EATING AND BODY DISSATISFACTION IN NORMAL WEIGHT CHILDREN—THE ROLE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTIVES TO EXERCISE

Elke Grimminger-Seidensticker; Johanna Korte; Aiko Möhwald; Jörg Trojan

Abstract

Body dissatisfaction is considered to be one of the most important risk factors for disordered eating. The role of physical activity in the context of body dissatisfaction and disordered eat-ing is by and large ambiguous, even more so in childhood. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the interaction effects between physical activity and motives for exercise and body dissatisfaction on restrained eating in normal weight children. The cross-sectional analyses refer to N = 602 primary scholars (7-12 years old). Multiple stepwise regression mod-els showed that the enhancing effect of body dissatisfaction on restrained eating can be buff-ered by physical activity among boys (R2 = 0.15, F(1, 261) = 2.31, p = 0.05). Among girls, physi-cal activity in combination with body dissatisfaction increases restrained eating significantly (R2 = 0.26, F(1, 225) = 15.46, p< 0.0001). Concerning the motives for exercise, the emotional motive and the health and fitness motive in relation with body dissatisfaction significantly increase restrained eating in boys (R2 = 0.23, F(1, 181) = 6.93, p=0.05). Similarly, for girls, the emotional motive and the health and fitness motive in relation with body dissatisfaction in-crease restrained eating significantly (R2 = 0.48, F(1, 131) = 15.60, p< 0.001). Thus, the reflec-tion upon the role of physical activity and motives for exercise in young children might be an approach to preventing disordered eating in relation to body dissatisfaction.

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