Jacob Sholl1, Andrea Cullers1, Michael Pyle1

1Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, Missouri

Previous research has reported that adolescent females with poor body image have lower rates of physical activity. Center for Disease Control data from 2016 reports that only 21.7% of adults meet the weekly physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and body image perceptions during exercise. METHODS: Students enrolled in a Kinesiology Department’s Lifetime Wellness course participated in the study. Data for this study were collected from surveys completed by students enrolled in this course; the two surveys used for this study were Body Composition Assessment and Personal Barriers to Exercise. Descriptive statistics were performed and a Pearson correlational was used to measure the relationship between BMI and body image perception. RESULTS: 262 students completed these surveys. The average BMI was 26.2 and the SDV was 6.1. The Personal Barriers to Exercise survey asked students ‘How likely are you to say this,’ on a scale of 1-4 (1 = Very Likely, 4 = Very Unlikely) to 21 questions. The average response to Question 9, ‘I’m embarrassed about how I will look when I exercise with others’ was 2.9 and the SDV was 1.1. The average score indicates the sample of 262 students is not likely to be embarrassed when exercising with others. However, when a correlation was run with the students’ BMI, the data showed a moderate positive relationship (r = .344, p < .001) between BMI and the likelihood of being embarrassed when exercising with others. CONCLUSION: The results of this study may be helpful in understanding health behaviors and improving physical and social wellness in college students

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