Body Image And Body Composition Differences In Japanese And Australian Males

Por: Colin Binns, Deborah Kerr, Masaharu Kagawa e Satvinder Dhaliwal.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Body composition is an important determinant of short term and long term health. Recent studies have suggested that
having a distorted body image in males is a risk factor for eating disorders [1], being overweight [2], and muscle
dysmorphia [3]. Assessment of body image in males has been limited to only a few studies. Of these body image studies
most have used only limited anthropometry, such as weight and height. This study aimed to determine body
composition, using extensive anthropometry, and the relationship with body image of 84 Japanese (JJ) and 72
Australian Caucasian (AA) males living in their home countries and 68 Japanese males living in Australia (JA).

The body image of each subject was obtained from a questionnaire and using the Somatomorphic Matrix computer
program (SM) [4]. The SM program provides body fat and muscularity values of the image selected by each subject by
percent body fat (%BF) and fat free mass index (FFMI). Body composition was measured by anthropometry using the
ISAK standard protocol. Their %BF and the body mass index (BMI) were obtained from anthropometry and they were
compared with perceived "fatness" and "heaviness" using a weighted Kappa analysis. Categorization of the BMI and
%BF were made according to existing classifications.

There were significant ethnic differences in body size and sum of skinfolds (p<0.05), but no differences in %BF were
observed. From the SM program, all groups selected a significantly (p<0.05) more muscular image as their "ideal"
compared from their perceived current own image (own). The study showed a better agreement among all study groups
in their perceived "Heaviness" to the BMI than their perceived "Fatness" to %BF.

Discussion/ Conclusions
Regardless of ethnicity, males showed a strong desire to become more muscular. However, males showed poor
assessment of their own body composition, particularly their level of adiposity. This study demonstrates a need for
further research on the factors which influence body image in males of different ethnic origins.

[1]. Carlat DJ, & Camargo Jr CA. (1991) The American Journal of Psychiatry 148(7):831-843.
[2]. Donath SM. (2000) The Medical Journal of Australia 172(8):375-377.
[3]. Pope Jr HG, et al. (1997) Psychosomatics 38(6):548-557.
[4]. Gruber AJ, et al. (1998) In: Norton K, Olds T, Dollman J,( eds). The Sixth Scientific Conference of the
International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry; 1998; Adelaide: International Society for the
Advancement of Kinanthropometry p. 217-231.

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