Body image change and improved eating self-regulation in a weight management intervention in women

Faculty of Human Kinetics, Technical University of Lisbon, Estrada da Costa, 1495-688 Cruz Quebrada, Portugal.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Impact Factor: 4.11). 07/2011; 8(1):75. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-75
Source: PubMed


Successful weight management involves the regulation of eating behavior. However, the specific mechanisms underlying its successful regulation remain unclear. This study examined one potential mechanism by testing a model in which improved body image mediated the effects of obesity treatment on eating self-regulation. Further, this study explored the role of different body image components.
Participants were 239 overweight women (age: 37.6 ± 7.1 yr; BMI: 31.5 ± 4.1 kg/m²) engaged in a 12-month behavioral weight management program, which included a body image module. Self-reported measures were used to assess evaluative and investment body image, and eating behavior. Measurements occurred at baseline and at 12 months. Baseline-residualized scores were calculated to report change in the dependent variables. The model was tested using partial least squares analysis.
The model explained 18-44% of the variance in the dependent variables. Treatment significantly improved both body image components, particularly by decreasing its investment component (f² = .32 vs. f² = .22). Eating behavior was positively predicted by investment body image change (p < .001) and to a lesser extent by evaluative body image (p < .05). Treatment had significant effects on 12-month eating behavior change, which were fully mediated by investment and partially mediated by evaluative body image (effect ratios: .68 and .22, respectively).
Results suggest that improving body image, particularly by reducing its salience in one's personal life, might play a role in enhancing eating self-regulation during weight control. Accordingly, future weight loss interventions could benefit from proactively addressing body image-related issues as part of their protocols.

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Available from: Pedro Teixeira
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    • "Body image is important as it assists with self-regulation (Carraca et al., 2011). Acceptance of one's body image can help individuals lose more weight than peers, improve body satisfaction, and decrease maladjusted investment in external appearance (Carraca et al., 2011). Individuals with a positive body image who do not define themselves by their weight are more successful with weight loss maintenance (Ohsiek & Williams, 2011). "
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    • "Dieting is more frequent among women than among men [15], who tend to practice physical exercise rather than diet to change the look of their bodies and to lose weight [16,17]. Moreover, improving body image, particularly by reducing its importance in one’s personal life, plays a role in enhancing eating self-regulation during weight control in women [18]. "
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