Development and effectiveness of a school programme on improving body image among elementary school students in Taiwan


L.-Y. Chien: e-mail:


yeh m.-c., liou y.-m. & chien l.-y. (2012) Development and effectiveness of a school programme on improving body image among elementary school students in Taiwan. Journal of Advanced Nursing 68(2), 434–443.


Aim.  The objectives of this study were to develop a programme to improve body image among elementary school students and to evaluate the effectiveness of the programme.

Background.  The idea that a slim body is beautiful has become popular in recent decades, and has negatively impacted body image among school children. There is a need for further development of prevention programmes.

Methods.  This study applied a quasi-experimental design. The study participants were 314 5th and 6th graders in two elementary schools in Taipei City, with 112 in the intervention group and 202 in the control group. The intervention group received an 8-week educational programme. The study participants filled out structured questionnaires at preintervention, postintervention and 3 months after intervention between October 2007 and April 2008. The indicators of effectiveness included perceptional (estimation of body size), attitudinal (body satisfaction) and behavioural (diet and vomiting to lose weight) aspects of body image.

Findings.  Intervention students showed a greater increase in body satisfaction from pretest to posttest relative to controls. At 3 months after intervention, the intervention students still had significantly higher body satisfaction than controls. There were no statistically significant differences in the perceptional and behavioural aspects of body image.

Conclusion.  This study demonstrated that a school programme improved body satisfaction among elementary school students. The findings of this study could serve as a basis for further development of body image programmes for children to prevent a drastically deteriorating body image when they enter puberty.