Low-Income, African American and American Indian Children’s Viewpoints on Body Image Assessment Tools and Body Satisfaction: A Mixed Methods Study

Lindsay Heidelberger, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives Pediatric obesity is complicated by many factors including psychological issues, such as body dissatisfaction. Body image assessment tools are used with children to measure their acceptance of their body shape or image. Limited research has been conducted with African American and American Indian children to understand their opinions on assessment tools created. This study investigated: (a) children’s perception about body image and (b) differences between two body image instruments among low-income, multi-ethnic children. Methods This study uses mixed methodology including focus groups (qualitative) and body image assessment instruments (quantitative). Fifty-one children participated (25 girls, 26 boys); 53% of children identified as African American and 47% as American Indian. The average age was 10.4 years. Open coding methods were used by identify themes from focus group data. SPSS was used for quantitative analysis. Results Children preferred the Figure Rating Scale (FRS/silhouette) instrument over the Children’s Body Image Scale (CBIS/photo) because their body parts and facial features were more detailed. Children formed their body image perception with influence from their parents and the media. Children verbalized that they have experienced negative consequences related to poor body image including disordered eating habits, depression, and bullying. Healthy weight children are also aware of weight-related bullying that obese and overweight children face. Conclusions for Practice Children prefer that the images on a body image assessment tool have detailed facial features and are clothed. Further research into body image assessment tools for use with African American and American Indian children is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1327-1338
Number of pages12
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We would like to thank the USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Education Program for providing funding for this project. We would also like to thank the local programs that assisted us in coordinating focus groups, specifically Julie Green and Rachel Greenwalt at the Ginew/Golden Eagle Program and Diana Adamson, Pat Koch, Stephanie Siegel, and Albert Greene at the Boys and Girls Club of the Twin Cities. Finally, we would like to thank the children for their interest in being part of our study and their willingness to share their viewpoints and opinions with us.

Funding Information:
Funding Funding was provided by Minnesota Agriculture Experiment Station (Grant No. MN18-102)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Body image
  • Children
  • Figure Rating Scales


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