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Body Image in Children of the Appalachian Region
Tulkki, Lisa

2005, Master of Science (MS), Ohio University, Nutrition Science (Health and Human Services).

Previous studies have suggested that Appalachian children have higher rates of obesity and unique barriers to obesity prevention. This study examines the relationship between actual weight status versus perception and satisfaction with that size in children of the Appalachian region. Thirty-one males (10.0±2.1 years) and 34 females (9.9±1.8 years) participated in the study. To assess actual body size, body mass index (BMI) and percent body fat using skinfold calipers were measured. The Children’s Body Image Scale was used to evaluate body image and a survey completed by parents was used to compare income and educational status of these families versus the norm for Appalachian residents. Subjects had high rates of overweight and obesity with 26% having a BMI > than the 95th percentile and with 43.1% having a percent body fat that was classified as moderately high, high, or very high. Both genders showed a strong positive correlation (r =.694) between actual body image and perceived body image meaning that children of both genders did reasonably well estimating their actual body size. In contrast, 69% of children were dissatisfied with their current body size with 56% of females and 55% of males expressing the desire to be smaller. Interestingly, this study found a higher percentage of boys that wished to have a smaller figure in comparison to previous reports. Furthermore, participating families did not reflect the typical income or educational profile of Appalachian families suggesting that the underlying cause for the high incidence of obesity in these children is beyond poverty and may be related to something that could be innate to the region or pervasive in the culture. Overall, these results confirm previous studies showing high rates of obesity in children residing in Appalachia. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that children in this region are generally dissatisfied with that body size. Collectively, this study highlights the need for obesity prevention in this region while underscoring the importance of instilling a positive body image in these children.

Darlene Berryman (Advisor)
142 p.

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Tulkki, L. (2005). Body Image in Children of the Appalachian Region. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from

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Tulkki, Lisa. "Body Image in Children of the Appalachian Region." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2005. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 28 Nov 2015.

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Tulkki, Lisa "Body Image in Children of the Appalachian Region." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2005.


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