Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of Different Physical and Sport Activity Courses on Body Image of Costa Rican Students

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

The Effect of Different Physical and Sport Activity Courses on Body Image of Costa Rican Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

Body image is the mental representation and experience of one's physical body and is composed of tlnee components. First, a perceptual aspect, which the way a person perceives the body size and shape. The second factor is the cognitive-affective, which is the set of beliefs, thoughts, images and feelings that a person has about his body. According to Salazar (2008) and Trujano, Nava, Grace, Lemon Alatriste and Merino (2010), this aspect is useful to understand the level of body dissatisfaction, concern or satisfaction. The third component is the behavioral, which refers to the behavior of a person based on their own personal thinking and feelings (e.g., exhibitionism, social avoidance) (Salazar, 2008; Arroyo, Gonzalez Sanchez, Ansotegui & Rocandio, 2008; Trujano et al., 2010). Arroyo et al. (2008), summarize the concept of body image as the way in which you perceive, imagine, feel, and act about your own body. If there are negative evaluations regarding these components, it is possible that this lead to a body image disorder and body image disturbance, which implies a negative change in attitudes, behaviors and/or perceptions on the body and as with any disturbance, changes in body image may vary from mild to severe, where the minimum levels, called "body image concerns" are more frequent (Daniel & Bridges, 2010; Trujano et al., 2010).

Cash, Morrow, Hrabosky and Perry (2004), indicate that body image encompasses perceptions and self- attitudes regarding physical appearance and these attitudes can be assessed in relation to the overall body look or with respect to specific physical characteristics, such as weight or body shape. Thus, body image dissatisfaction is a coimnon phenomenon that can adversely affect psychosocial functioning and quality of life of individuals (Cash et al., 2004). Since some disorders associated with body dissatisfaction emerge during adolescence, it is considered that the cultural pressures to have a slim figure originate in the family, as well as with peers and the media. These agents promote the internalization of nonns of female attractiveness and overvaluation of appearance (Espinoza, Pendo & Raich, 2010). For young people physical appearance is very important, which is determined by the prevailing aesthetic standards encouraged by the society and supported by the media. This factor is affecting the attitude of young people as they show excessive preoccupation regarding weight and body concerns.

Salazar (2008) evaluated 594 high-school adolescents on the body appearance, which is a very important dimension of the self-esteem during adolescence. The results indicated that 33% of the study group were dissatisfied with their body image and almost 50% of the study group did not agree with their weight. The author concluded that the period of adolescence is important to adopt appropriate behaviors and habits necessary for good health.

Some diseases that trigger eating disorders and obesity in the youth have been associated with body dissatisfaction feelings. Research on Spanish adolescents by Espinoza et al. (2010), associated socio-cultural and individual risk factors to eating disorders and body image. This study is considered important because it contributes to the assessment of risk factors, whose modification could help prevent the development of eating disorders and body image, as well as to promote the identification of subgroups at high risk for developing these disorders. Lameiras, Draft, Rodriguez and Fernandez (2003), indicate that epidemiological research on eating behavior disorders should be directed not only to the clinical field but also the eating behaviors of adjustment and cognitive variables that are associated with body image perception to identity risk factors and to detect vulnerable subjects. The increase in the frequency of body image disorders in males and females might be explained by a failure to achieve the aesthetic standards that society imposes and by a negative body image associated with an impaired health (Borkoles, Polman & Levy, 2010). …

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