Purpose. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between body satisfaction, the amount of time spent on physical activity (PA), and body mass index (BMI) in a group of young adults. Methods. A sample of 527 students (351 females and 176 males) aged 19-24 years were recruited for analysis. Measures of height and weight were collected. Participants completed a questionnaire about PA performed during the previous seven days, intention of increasing PA levels, overall body satisfaction, their ideal BMI, and what parts of their bodies they were most dissatisfied with. Results. Body satisfaction was associated with the amount of time spent on PA in both women and men. No relationship between time spent on PA and BMI was found. In women, lower levels of PA, lower body satisfaction, and a larger discrepancy between actual BMI and ideal BMI was observed when compared with men. The majority of women (85.7%) as well as men (78.4%) intended to increase their PA in the near future.
Conclusions. Body satisfaction grows together with increasing the amount of time spent on PA. Young adults are aware of the benefits of PA, but there is a gap between knowledge and practice, highlighting the need for programs that can motivate and educate on how to turn intentions into action. Along with promoting PA, focus on body satisfaction especially among women is also recommended.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.