SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess racial and gender differences in perceptions of ideal body size among White and Black fourth-grade children. Method: A random sample of 817 children (51.4% female, 51.8% White, and mean age 9 years) participated in a body image and weight concern survey. Results: Using socioeconomic status (SES), race, and gender as independent variables, Black children selected significantly heavier ideal sizes than White children for self, male child, female child, adult male, and adult female. Although almost one half (46%) of Black females wanted to be thinner than their current size, their body size selections were significantly larger than those of White females. Black and White males differed only in the selections of ideal female child and adult sizes. Cross-gender comparisons indicated females and Whites experience more body dissatisfaction and weight concern than males and Blacks. Discussion: Our study indicates that early in the sociocultural development of children, gender, race, and SES are influential factors in selecting ideal body size and determining body satisfaction. © 1997 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 21: 279–284, 1997.