SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • acceptable body size;
  • obesity;
  • body size discrepancy;
  • body size dissatisfaction;
  • ideal size

Abstract

Objective: To examine the concept of the “good enough” body size acceptability across a wide range of ages and weight status.

Research Methods and Procedures: Subjects were 303 children, 427 adolescents, 261 young adults, and 326 middle-age adults who selected acceptable body sizes from an array of drawings representing their own age and gender. They also selected body sizes representing their own actual and ideal size.

Results: A large majority (87%) of subjects considered their own body size socially acceptable. This finding applied to both genders in all age groups and to underweight, normal weight, and overweight subjects. Even among obese subjects, 48% considered their own body size socially acceptable. For the large percentage of subjects who reported a discrepancy between their actual and ideal body sizes, most considered their own body size acceptable. This finding also applied to both genders in all age groups and to underweight, normal weight, and overweight subjects.

Discussion: Most male and female subjects across a wide range of ages and status considered their own body size to be within the range of socially acceptable body sizes even though, for many, it did not match their ideal. The implications of expanding body size research to include the conceptual framework of body size acceptability is discussed in terms of contributing to a paradigm of positive psychology.