Aim of the participants and to survey the body

Aim

To assess the ideal body weight and BMI of the participants
and to survey the body image dissatisfaction and weight loss methods taken up
by adolescents from different educational streams.

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Objectives

·        
To assess the
nutritional status of the adolescent girls and compare it with their body
dissatisfaction or satisfaction.

·        
To assess the effects
of self-esteem, peers, social media and Physical Activity on Body image.

·        
To compare the
above results in Home science, Science and Non science students.

Adolescents

Adolescents account for 1.2 billion of the world’s
population. As per the UNICEF The State of the World’s Children, 2011 report,
India has the largest National population of adolescents. The Census 2011 data
(provisional) shows that there are more than 225 million adolescents in India,
who account for almost 21 percent of the country’s population. (Jha, 2012)

Adolescence is the bridge between childhood and
adulthood and thus has this immense importance. Adolescents during this period
will grow not just physically but also mentally. They look for their identity
and their place in the society, they learn about the expectations, their roles
and duties. Such large scale of change also makes them sensitive to issues
around us and thus day to day issues have more serious impact on them.

Body image is a multidimensional construct central to
emotional well-being in which the attitudinal component is satisfaction with
body size, a factor associated with self-esteem. (Pitch, et.al, 2013).

Research from prospective and longitudinal designs has
identified body dissatisfaction as one of the most consistent and robust risk factors
for eating disorders such as bulimia and as a significant predictor of low
self-esteem, depression, and obesity. Thus, in many ways, body dissatisfaction has
emerged as a core aspect of women’s physical and mental health. (Grabe, et.al,
2008)

 “Body
dissatisfaction, is a powerful most potent and consistent precursor of a whole
range of unhealthy body-related behaviours like- unhealthy dieting regimes and
problematic eating behaviours (starving bingeing and purging), clinical eating
disorders (anorexia, bulimia), cosmetic surgery, extreme exercising, and
unhealthy muscle-enhancing behaviours. It is also linked to depression,
anxiety, sexual dissatisfaction, and low self-esteem.” (Maran, et.al, 2012)

Body dissatisfaction in a study conducted by (Pitch,
et.al, 2013) relates it with the eating patterns and food consumption. Adolescents
with desire to lose weight are more likely to have 3 meals per day or even less
and overfat girls are more likely to skip breakfast to do so as compared to
overfat boys were majorly satisfied with their body weight.

In adolescents girls particularly are more concerned
and aware of their body image as compared to boys. Females attach more
importance on appearance and are preoccupied with their weight from a very
early age. (Lowry, et.al, 2002). The issue of body image, the growing concern
of one’s body shape and size due to portrayal of a lean and tall body as the
‘ideal body shape’. Urban women who are heavily exposed to western culture are
prone to chase this ‘ideal body shape’. (Zimik, et.al, 2016). Every other
person is after this ‘ideal body shape’ and specially adolescents who easily
fall prey to societal pressures, social norms and are active members of many
social media handles.

There can be innumerable reasons for a person to have
this distorted body image and body dissatisfaction. A low self-esteem is one
such main and significant internal precursor. Self-esteem can be described as a
favourable or unfavourable attitude toward self. (Rosenberg, 1965). It is of
particular importance in adolescence as self-esteem is naturally low in this
period as compared to rest of the stages of life. Girls especially are more
vulnerable group. (Birndorf ,Ryan et.
al,2005)

 Self-esteem increases from adolescence to middle
adulthood, peaks at about age 50 to 60 years, and then decreases at an accelerating
pace into old age. (Ortho, et.al, 2014). Effects of low esteem can be seen in
various external risky behaviours, mental disorders like eating disorders,
depression and anxiety, risky health behaviours and poor social outcomes.
(Mann, Hosman, et. al, 2004)

Friends and peers play a major indispensable role in
this period and thus are significant contributors to this issue. The need to
give a good impact on peers and friends for the acceptance in the social circle
is the driving force behind majority of teen’s behaviours. According to a study
friends are the major source of information on bodily changes and body image, a
bit more for girls from a joint family as compared to nuclear family. (Jha,
2012)

Advent of technology and growth of social media has
only added to Social media has its infinite gifts but along with all these
positive impacts one cannot deny some serious issues that it brings. Social
media has increased the social boundaries beyond just peers, neighbours and
relatives and made it almost limitless and thus also making online bullying,
stalking, body shaming and various other cybercrimes a day to day part of our
life.  

Social media’s portrayal of unrealistic body image has
significant effect on women than on men. Western magazines especially that
portray a certain beauty and fashion has negative effect on mood and greater
body dissatisfaction. (Levine, et.al, 2010). The women portrayed by media are
15% below the average weight of women and generally thinner and are growing
thinner by the time.  The exposure to
these thin images has caused an increase in Eating disorders due to low
self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, negative moods etc. (Hawkins et.al, 2004)

Reasons for weight loss or attempts to control weight
are many with internal factors like low self-esteem, poor nutrition knowledge,
body dissatisfaction and low confidence on oneself or external factors like
social bullies, societal pressure, etc. The sad truth remains that there are
vast majority of girls trying to manage their weight without the correct
knowledge or guidance. Adolescents today are always trying to lose weight and
take extreme measures for the same without any medical supervision just too fit
in the society. Some of which are purging, low fat diets, physical activity,
diet of fruits and vegetables etc. According to a study the 3 majorly adopted
methods of weight loss are reduced fat in diet, exercise and a diet of fruits
and vegetables. (Bhurtum, et.al, 2013)

These weight control measures are generally harmless
if they are for shorter time intervals but as they progress they sometimes take
a serious turn and can lead to Eating Disorder.

Eating disorders (ED) are one of the most common
psychiatric problems faced by adolescents, and are characterized by a
persistent course, comorbid psychopathology, medical complications, and elevated
mortality. Earlier only western cultures were said to have prevalence of Eating
disorders but today even developing countries like India are showing
significant prevalence of ED. One study showed 26.7% and other showed 26.67%
prevalence of high risk for Eating disorder in their study population. (Babu,
Aroor 2017), (Upadhyah, Misra, et .al, 2014)

No organ system is spared the effects of eating
disorders. They rank as the third
most common chronic illness in adolescent females, with an incidence of up to
5%. The physical signs and symptoms occurring in adolescents with an eating
disorder are primarily related to weight-control behaviours and the effects of
malnutrition. (Golden, et.al, 2003)

But need and knowledge of physical activity for weight
loss is still ambiguous. Teenagers either prefer extreme diets and skipping
meals or exercising

Physical activity
of girls

Physical activity has numerous benefits like weight
maintenance, reduction of CVDs, strong bones and muscles, improved general
fitness and so on. The most significant effect no doubt being weight loss. For
weight loss physical activity along with dietary restriction is the correct way
to go and this practise should continue even after the weight loss to maintain
the loss in weight for longer duration. (Swift,
et.al, 2013).

Generally we associated physical activity with weight
loss, which is true as no weight loss is possible without proper physical
activity but it also plays a very significant and lesser known role which its
effect on mental well-being.  Increases
in physical activity was associated with increases in perceived physical
conditioning, body satisfaction, and overall physical self-worth independent of
changes in body mass index (BMI). (Goldfield, Mallory et. al, 2007).

Need

There are numerous studies to prove the alarming rates
of body weight distortion and a keen interest to lose weight. This pattern is
in high rise especially in young girls. The methods to lose weight take up a
fatal turn when they become ‘Eating disorders’, cases which are increasing day
by day especially in girls.

Scope

This study aims at one of significant present problem
and will help to understand teenagers behaviour towards their body image and
weight management. Also in India there very few studies and findings on the
body as compared to others parts of the world. (Zimik, 2016). More studies will
help in better understanding of teens knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards
their health.

This information can be used for further studies which
concerned with health, teenagers, weight management, teen behaviour etc. This
study is an attempt to understand the behaviours that ultimately lead to fatal
eating disorders and health implications.

 

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