Maria Grazia Monaci, Gianfranco Nuvoli

I bambini e il proprio corpo: come si vedono loro e cosa ne pensano i genitori

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The present study investigates body image, attitude toward food and physical activity in 6 to 11-years-old. The study was carried out by means of questionnaires distributed with teachers' co-operation in five primary school classes (n = 165). Through vignettes, the children answered four questions on their perception of their body along the fatthin dimension and on their relationship with food and physical activity; similar questions were reformulated and administered to the parents. The children's answers were compared with their parents' answers and with an objective criterion, the BMI ("Body Mass Index") calculated from their actual weight and height. Results show that children's perception of themselves only partially corresponds to reality and that from the age of 10-11 they start to be influenced by current stereotypes: ideals of slimness for females and more ambiguous ones, in-between slimness and sturdiness, but more precocious, for males. Finally, body image more than actual weight influences both food habits and physical/ sports activity.

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