SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.34 número1Análisis de imagen corporal y obesidad mediante las siluetas de Stunkard en niños y adolescentes españoles de 3 a 18 añosEficacia ejecutiva en tareas de interferencia tipo Stroop. Estudio de validación de una versión numérica y manual (CANUM) índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados




Links relacionados

  • En proceso de indezaciónCitado por Google
  • No hay articulos similaresSimilares en SciELO
  • En proceso de indezaciónSimilares en Google


Anales de Psicología

versión On-line ISSN 1695-2294versión impresa ISSN 0212-9728

Anal. Psicol. vol.34 no.1 Murcia ene. 2018 

Psicología del Deporte y de la Actividad Física

Perception of body size and dissatisfaction in children aged 3 to 6: a systematic review

Percepción del tamaño corporal e insatisfacción en Niños de 3 a 6 años: una revisión sistemática

María-Pilar León1  , Irene González-Martí2  , Juan-Gregorio Fernández-Bustos1  , Onofre Contreras1 

1 Faculty of Education of Albacete. University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain).

2 Faculty of Education of Cuenca. University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain).


Body image is a construct that has been widely studied, particularly with regard to image perception and dissatisfaction. Though most research studies focus on adolescence and adulthood, dissatisfaction problems are manifesting themselves at increasingly early ages. The aim of this study was, therefore, to analyse the most significant findings on body dissatisfaction and body-size perception among children aged 3 to 6 (second cycle of pre-school education). To this end the Medline, SportDiscus, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Dialnet, ProQuest and EBSCO databases were used, and from which a total of 22 studies were selected in accordance with exclusion criteria such as language, peer review and the objective measurement of the body mass index (BMI) of children. In terms of levels of dissatisfaction, results vary widely, making it impossible to draw sound conclusions on the nature and prevalence of this variable at these ages. The main reasons for this include the type of instrument used and the difficulties children had in perceiving their bodies correctly.

Key words: Body image; Pre-school education; Body dissatisfaction; Body perception; Children


La imagen corporal es un constructo ampliamente estudiado, sobre todo en lo que se refiere a la percepción e insatisfacción con la propia imagen. La mayoría de las investigaciones se centran en la adolescencia y adultez, aunque los problemas de insatisfacción aparecen cada vez a edades más tempranas. Por tanto, el propósito de este estudio fue analizar los hallazgos más transcendentes sobre insatisfacción corporal y percepción del propio tamaño corporal en niños de 3 a 6 años (segundo ciclo de Educación Infantil). A tal fin, se usaron las bases de datos de Medline, SportDiscus, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Dialnet, ProQuest y EBSCO, de las cuales se seleccionaron 22 estudios, en base a criterios de exclusión como el idioma, la revisión por pares y la medición objetiva del Índice de Masa Corporal (IMC) de los niños. Los resultados son diversos en cuanto a los niveles de insatisfacción, lo cual hace imposible establecer conclusiones acertadas sobre las características y prevalencia de dicha variable a estas edades. Entre las principales razones de esta dificultad destaca el tipo de instrumento empleado y las dificultades de los niños para percibir su cuerpo con exactitud.

Palabras clave: Imagen corporal; Educación Infantil; Insatisfacción corporal; Percepción corporal; Niños


Body image is a construct that arouses a great deal of interest and no little concern. In response, a number of researchers are studying body image with young participants, the aim being to ascertain the exact point at which they begin to have certain negative thoughts or concerns about their bodies (Harriger, 2014).

The main reason for assessing this construct in children of such young ages is that a negative body image can lead to problems in later life. It is well known that body dissatisfaction can trigger low self-esteem and an increase in depressive symptoms, which are in turn linked to psychological problems (Ferreiro, Seoane, & Senra, 2014; Raich, 2001; Sarwer, Dilks, & Spitzer, 2012) such as interpersonal anxiety. As a result, anyone who rejects themselves is likely to think that they will be rejected by others (Raich, 2001).

Other problems may also arise, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), which is understood as a “preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others” (American Psychiatric Association, 2014, p. 148).

Linked to dissatisfaction and BDD are eating disorders (such as bulimia nervosa and/or anorexia nervosa), muscle dysmorphia and mood disorders, among other conditions (Ferreiro et al., 2014; González-Martí, Fernández, Hernández-Martínez, & Contreras, 2014). These disorders are common in older children, however.

Body image is a construct defined by Schilder (1983) as the “mental representation we create of our body” (p. 15). Schilder advocates a biopsychosocial approach that takes the following into consideration: biological aspects such as age, gender and BMI; psychological aspects such as body satisfaction/dissatisfaction; and sociocultural aspects such as socioeconomic status, the weight of one’s peers, parents’ preoccupations with their children’s weight and dissatisfaction with one’s own body. This approach observes how the relationship between these aspects impacts on body image (Fredrickson, Kremer, Swinburn, Silva-Sanigorski, & McCabe, 2013), which is variable and is influenced by interactions with society, peers, family, culture and the media.

Given that body image comprises a perceptive, cognitive/emotional and behavioural component (Thompson, 1990), it encompasses perception of the body and parts of the body, its movements and limits, the subjective experience of our attitudes, thoughts, feelings and the assessments we make, and, finally, the way in which we act (Raich, 2001). As a result, body image is closely linked to self-esteem (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006a, 2006b; Sarwer et al., 2012), as it is a construct that involves the perception that we have of ourselves. Body image is also linked to perceived competence (Méndez-Giménez, Cecchini-Estrada, & Fernández-Río, 2014), physical condition (Borrego, López-Sánchez, & Díaz-Suárez, 2012) and physical attraction and physical self-concept (Fernández-Bustos, González-Martí, Contreras, & Cuevas, 2015), which are regarded as aspects forming part of self-concept.

Body image in the second cycle of pre-school education

The development of body image begins in early childhood. Many children start to become aware of themselves at around the age of two, when they begin to recognise themselves in photos or in the mirror (Palacios, Marchesi, & Coll, 1990; Raich, 2001; Smolak, 2012) and identify parts of their body, which is fundamental in the creation of their body image (Schilder, 1983). At a later stage, children begin to internalise cultural concepts and develop images of how they ought to be (Raich, 2001), in other words the physical appearance they need to have in order to confirm to society’s idea of beauty, which they acquire through the media or through interaction with their surroundings. At the same time, they begin to discover their body through external information, conversations and the observations of others. For example, a child’s interest in their body can be aroused by them hearing their parents talk about another person’s body (Schilder, 1983). Society and the media therefore play an important role in children’s internalisation of beauty ideals at an early age. With regard to body image, these ideals are viewed as an extremely important aspect by the tripartite influence model, which points to three factors (the media, parents and peers) which, along with the internalisation of ideals and the excessive comparison of one’s appearance to others, present a risk in terms of the development of dissatisfaction and eating disorders (Shroff & Thompson, 2006). This is particularly true in girls, who are under more pressure than boys to achieve a certain ideal from an early age (Smolak, 2004).

Body image has been assessed at these ages by taking into consideration the child’s perception of their body size and their dissatisfaction in terms of shape and size, with the aim of concluding if they prefer larger or smaller bodies than their own.

In analysing body dissatisfaction, some studies use interviews or abbreviated questionnaires (Birbeck & Drummond, 2005, 2006a, 2006b; Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010), although the most widely used instruments are silhouette scales or body figures of the same height and ranging from very thin to very obese (Collins, 1991). Using this instrument, children select both the figure they identify most closely with and the one they would like to be, with body dissatisfaction being determined by the discrepancy between their current perceived body size and their desired size. As Tatangelo, McCabe, Mellor and Mealey (2016) suggest, however, this means of assessing body dissatisfaction may be incorrect, as in order to affirm that someone is unhappy with their body, the extent to which their level of dissatisfaction impacts on their life must be identified.

Furthermore, in evaluating perception these scales are also mainly used for the purpose of finding out if the child perceives the figure that corresponds with their weight status.

The evaluation of body image in children of such a young age is problematic in that some experts regard these children as having cognitive limitations that prevent them from estimating their body size accurately (Burgess & Broome, 2012; Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Skouteris, & Cox, 2014; Meers et al., 2011; Musher-Eizenman, Holub, Edwards-Leeper, Persson, & Goldstein, 2003). One of the main limitations is that children of this age think in a specific way, namely that they think about what they see and hear (about what is real), which makes it impossible for them to distinguish between and compare their real and ideal selves (Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Guha, & Skouteris, 2014; Mancilla, Vázquez, Mancilla, Amaya, & Álvarez, 2012; Papalia, Wendkos, & Duskin, 2010). This abstract way of thinking starts to occur from the age of 11. It allows children to think more logically and develop images of ideal circumstances. In other words, they are able to think about the ideal qualities they wish for themselves or others. They can, for example, picture their ideal father and compare him with their actual father, i.e. they are able to think about the future and what they might become (Santrock, 2007).

Another possible shortcoming in children of these ages is the lack of competence in self-representation, which could be attributable to sudden and disproportionate body growth, which makes it harder for the perceptual system to assimilate body changes quickly (Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Guha et al., 2014). Another characteristic of very young children is that they have a limited ability to categorise, i.e. they categorise things based on the two extremes of a single dimension. In their eyes, things and people are either “big” or “small”, “good” or “bad”, “nice” or “mean” (Papalia et al., 2010). As a result, they may have difficulty understanding the average values represented by body figures used in scales.

Finally, another aspect of cognitive development is centration (Papalia et al., 2010), which refers to the tendency of children to focus their attention on a single aspect and neglect all the others. When they are shown body figure scales, they may focus, therefore, on a single characteristic in making a comparison with their body. In this respect, Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Guha et al. (2014) noted that children have difficulty in assessing the various dimensions of the size of a figure at the same time.

However, despite the fact that some authors attribute cognitive limitations to body perception problems, others argue that it is due to the inadequate nature of the instruments used (Holub, 2008) and to the internalisation of society’s negative attitudes towards obesity (Cramer & Steinwert, 1998).

To conclude, given the range of results on body image and its importance in the development of self-esteem, there is a need for more studies providing a more in-depth assessment of the body image of children aged 3 to 6. It is for these reasons that this study sought to review the most significant findings in relation to the way in which children of these ages assess body image, the purpose being to reach more accurate conclusions on their perception and body dissatisfaction, and identify their cause.


Search procedure

A systematic search was conducted of the Medline, SportDiscus, Scopus, ScienceDirect, Dialnet, ProQuest and EBSCO databases between September 2015 and October 2016. The following key words were used in the search, as well as their Spanish translations: body dissatisfaction, body satisfaction, pre-school, body perception, body image, body size, young children and negative body image.

Selection criteria and process

The search and selection process were split into two phases. The first took a general approach to body image, and the second focused on children in the second cycle of pre-school education.

The period for evaluation ran from 1998 to 2016, as it was from the first of those dates that studies on body image in this age group began to be carried out in greater numbers. The following criteria were taken into consideration in selecting articles:

Inclusion criteria

Participants aged between 3 and 6.

Studies on body dissatisfaction and perception of participants’ own body size.

Cross-sectional, longitudinal, qualitative and quantitative studies.

Exclusion criteria

Languages other than Spanish and English.

Articles included in journals without peer review.

Studies in which BMI is not measured objectively on the basis of height and weight. Studies in which the children’s heights and weights were provided by their families were excluded.

Owing to the heterogeneity of the results encountered, a meta-analysis - which was the main intention - could not be carried out. A systematic review was carried out as a result, this review being complemented by a chi-square test with a view to providing more detailed data on the body dissatisfaction of children of these ages.


Search for articles

A total of 144 studies were identified, of which 113 were selected and only 22 fulfilled the aforementioned inclusion criteria (Figure 1).

Figure 1 PRISMA flow diagram depicting the exclusion and inclusion of articles. 

Analysis of the studies included reveals meaningful results with regard to participants’ dissatisfaction with and perception of their body size. These results are detailed in Table 1, along with the characteristics of these studies.

Table 1 Characteristics and results of the studies selected for systematic review. 

Characteristics of the articles

Of the 22 studies selected, 13 analysed body dissatisfaction, four body perception and five both variables. The total sample of children was 4,883 participants aged between three and six, 2,033 of which were boys (41.6%) and 2,850 girls (58.4%), who were in the majority. In eight of the studies, the children’s fathers, mothers, legal guardians or teachers also took part. These research studies were conducted in different countries, 18 of them in the western world and four in the Far East, with USA and Australia accounting for the largest number of studies included.

Body dissatisfaction

Some studies recorded dissatisfaction levels in excess of 50% (Ambrosi-Randic & Tokuda, 2004; Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006a, 2006b; Li et al., 2005; Musher-Eizenman et al., 2003; Pallan et al., 2011; Ra et al., 2016; Tremblay et al., 2011, Wong et al., 2013), while others revealed satisfaction levels of over 60% (63-100%) (Burgess & Broome, 2012; Damiano et al., 2015; Davison et al., 2000; Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010).

As regards body size, both genders prefer thinner bodies than their own (Ambrosi-Randic, & Tokuda, 2004; Birbeck & Drummond, 2005, 2006a, 2006b; Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010). It was noted that the preference for thinness increases with age (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2005; Dohnt & Tiggeman, 2006a; Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010), as children aged 5 and 6 choose thinner figures as their ideal body shape than children aged 3 and 4. Furthermore, this desire is greater among females (Ambrosi-Randic & Tokuda, 2004; Birbeck & Drummond, 2005, 2006a, 2006b; Damiano et al., 2015). Hayes and Tantleff-Dunn (2010) found that 24.6% wanted thinner bodies, while Ambrosi-Randic and Tokuda (2004) found that 42.5% of girls and 32.5% of boys wanted to be thinner, although a considerable number of participants also chose bodies that were larger than theirs (an average of 39% of girls and 41% of boys). Similarly, Damiano et al. (2015) discovered that 64.9% and 77.1% of girls and boys respectively wanted to larger bodies, which was also the finding of Musher-Eizenman et al. (2003), who revealed that 36% of children, both boys and girls, wanted a larger figure.

This body dissatisfaction is related to BMI, as children who are overweight or obese have higher levels of dissatisfaction than those of normal weight (Davison et al., 2000; Shunk & Birch, 2004; Tremblay et al., 2011).

In view of the range of results relating to dissatisfaction, the studies were collated and compared to check if any differences in dissatisfaction could be linked to gender, country or the instrument used. Chi-square tests (Table 2) were carried out for this purpose. The studies included in this test show that it is western girls who manifest greater body dissatisfaction (χ2 = 34.19; p < .001), while there is no gender-related difference in Far Eastern countries (χ 2 = 0.41; p = .52). Furthermore, Far Eastern boys and girls were significantly more dissatisfied than their western peers (χ 2 = 321.86; p < .001). Levels of dissatisfaction also varied according to the instrument used. Studies using scales of seven or nine silhouettes yielded a significantly higher percentage of dissatisfaction (65.54%) (χ 2 = 332.70; p < .001) in comparison to scales of three or five silhouettes (29.35%) and to the percentage revealed by other instruments (13.84%).

Table 2 Differences in satisfaction-body dissatisfaction according to gender, country and evaluation instrument. 

Perception of body size

Most authors hold that children do not perceive their body size correctly (Ambrosi-Randic & Tokuda, 2004; Burgess & Broome, 2012; Holub, 2008; Meers et al., 2011; Musher-Eizenman et al., 2003; Ra et al., 2016; Tremblay et al., 2011). Between 41% and 85% of them incorrectly identified their weight status with their perceived body size. However, Dunphy-Lelii, McGivern, Skouteris et al. (2016) found that 74% of children estimated their size correctly.

It was also found that most obese or overweight children do not perceive their weight status correctly (Burgess & Broome, 2012; Cramer & Steinwert, 1998; Tremblay et al., 2011). There are also errors, however, in the identification made by thin children (Cramer & Steinwert, 1998). In terms of gender, boys were more accurate than girls in estimating their body size (Holub, 2008) and, in general terms, children were better at perceiving height than width (Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Skouteris et al., 2014).


The aim of this review was to provide a synthesis of the results obtained in body image research studies conducted with children aged 3 to 6, with the variables of dissatisfaction with and perception of their own body size being taken into account for this purpose.

With regard to dissatisfaction, the analysis shows that it very prevalent at these ages. Prevalence varies significantly across the research studies, however, with percentages ranging between 9% and 84%. One possible explanation for this very significant difference in dissatisfaction levels could lie in the evaluation instruments used. Studies using scales of seven or nine silhouettes reveal much higher levels of dissatisfaction than those using scales with fewer silhouettes (three or five) or which opt for other instruments (Table 2). As a result of this, it could be inferred that the greater the number of silhouettes, the greater the probability that children select a different silhouette as their ideal. It may also be the case that they believe they have to choose a different figure for each question (an actual and an ideal figure) (Tatangelo et al., 2016), which would give rise to high levels of discontent.

As Table 1 shows, dissatisfaction can lead to a desire for both thin and large bodies. At these ages, some children want to be bigger and stronger in terms of their weight (Smolak, 2012), as they believe that the word strong is associated with overweight figures (Rich et al., 2008). As a result, they associate thinness with weakness (Cramer & Steinwert, 1998). Males reveal more of a desire to be physically bigger, which perhaps explains why boys are anxious to grow. It is perhaps for this reason that they choose obese figures more often, as they can represent strong and muscular bodies (Birbeck & Drummond, 2006b). Such a choice may also show the importance boys attach to body functionality and physical performance (Tatangelo et al., 2016), in the belief that a large body is better able to achieve this.

There are also boys, however, who prefer thinner figures, as they see them as being taller (Birbeck & Drummond, 2005). Some studies reveal that the preference for thin figures increases with age (Hayes & Tantleff-Dunn, 2010; Li et al., 2005). Dohnt and Tiggemann (2006a) found that 48.5% five-year-old girls wanted to be bigger, whereas girls aged 6, 7 and 8 wanted to have thinner bodies. These authors also noted that 58.8% of five-year-old girls wanted to be bigger, whereas only 29.4% girls aged 6 expressed this desire (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006b). Heron et al. (2013) found that five- and six-year-old boys and girls wanted a bigger and stronger body (in terms of weight), while boys aged between 7 and 11 preferred a thinner body. However, in selecting a thinner or larger ideal figure than their own, children may choose to do so for reasons relating to body fat and musculature or the desire for an adult figure, which should not necessarily cause them to be concerned with their current perceived size (Mancilla et al., 2012). With regard to this type of dissatisfaction, Smolak (2012) holds that the preoccupation of children of these ages with body image is not based on weight and shape, but on clothes and hair. Some parents of children aged between 1 and 6 reported that their offspring began to become aware of their own image at the age of 3 or 4 (Hart, Damiano, Cornell, & Paxton, 2015), manifesting certain preferences with regard to clothes and a desire to dress themselves or to look like someone else, while also making comments about their bodies or those of others and imitating what they see and hear, though not necessarily in a negative manner.

Dissatisfaction can be influenced by sociocultural factors. It has been shown that dissatisfaction is more prevalent in Far Eastern cultures than western ones (Table 2), in both genders, though it is usually channelled towards a desire for larger bodies, perhaps because obesity is associated with wealth in oriental culture (Li et al., 2005; Ra et al., 2016). Among western children, levels of dissatisfaction are slightly higher in boys than they are in girls. This piece of data contradicts other results that conclude that females are more dissatisfied about their bodies (Damiano et al., 2015; Tremblay et al., 2011).

The growing desire for thinness may be related to increased media exposure and the subsequent interiorisation of western society’s concepts of beauty, which are focused on thinness and slenderness in women and on muscularity in men (Harriger et al., 2010; Ra et al., 2016; Raich, 2001).

With regard to obesity, it was noted that it is a significant risk factor in the development of a negative body image in children (Smolak, 2012), with a relationship between BMI and dissatisfaction in five-year-old girls (Davison et al., 2000) and girls aged between five and eight (Lowes & Tiggemann, 2003) being revealed. It was also noted that older girls want thinner figures (Dohnt & Tiggemann, 2006a) and that this relationship between BMI and body dissatisfaction grows stronger the older children become (Davison et al., 2003; Pallan et al., 2011), appearing earlier in girls than boys (Smolak, 2012).

In relation to body perception, Ambrosi-Randic and Takunda (2004) hold that children of these ages are too young to estimate their body size correctly. It is perhaps for that reason that a number of studies do not find any correlation between the BMI of children and perceived size (Ambrosi-Randic & Tokuda, 2004; Burgess & Broome, 2012; Holub, 2008; Meers et al., 2011; Musher-Eizenman et al., 2003; Ra et al., 2016; Tremblay et al., 2011). This gap in perception may vary depending on age, as Cramer and Steinwert (1998) found that children aged 5 are more accurate in ascertaining their body size than three-year-olds, although Tremblay et al. (2011) did not note that age had any influence on accuracy.

As is the case with dissatisfaction, it was also noted with regard to perception that children’s weight influences how they see their body, as most obese people do not usually perceive themselves as such (Burgess & Broome, 2012; Cramer & Steinwert, 1998, Tremblay et al., 2011). However, Pallan et al. (2011) found that nearly half of overweight or obese children aged between five and seven see themselves as being too fat.

This range of results, particularly in terms of dissatisfaction, can be attributed to the cognitive limitations of children (Dunphy-Lelii, Hooley, McGivern, Guha et al., 2014), to prejudice about obesity (Cramer & Steinwert, 1998) or the unsuitability of the instruments (Holub, 2008). As regards this last point, Pallan et al. (2011) argue that the lack of consistency in instruments and the lack of validated measurements pose a problem when it comes to assessing the body image of children of such young ages.

This explains the need for new studies that focus their efforts primarily on the design of instruments and the use of methodologies in keeping with the cognitive abilities of children. Nevertheless, in addition to future research studies, there is a need in the educational environment to develop body image intervention programmes promoting individual characteristics that help create a positive body image. This could be achieved, for example, through physical exercise programmes (López-Sánchez, López-Sánchez, & Díaz-Suárez, 2015), as an active lifestyle is linked to a suitable body image.


The study of body image in the second cycle of pre-school yields varying and largely inconclusive results with regard to children’s dissatisfaction with and perception of their own bodies. This could be due to the cognitive development of the children, their prejudice with regard to obesity or to the fact that the instruments or methodologies are not appropriate for them. One suitable instrument would perhaps involve the use of scales featuring silhouettes of children of their ages and the asking of questions to ascertain the reasons for their choice.

Certain limitations preventing a more exhaustive analysis from being carried out were encountered. Some of these limitations arise from the heterogeneous nature of the studies, the instruments used and the data presented, which make it impossible to make an objective comparison through a meta-analysis, which would otherwise provide valid results. Another limitation was the fact that age-related results could not be established, as many research studies provide general results, without specifying age and/or gender. As regards the number of articles included in the review, while it is true that they are not great in number due to the various exclusion criteria, we believe that this study adequately represents the literature at a global level, given that research studies from a number of countries are included.


This research is funded by the predoctoral grant of University Teachers Training, belonging to the Training and Mobility subprograms included in the State Program for Promotion of Talent and its Employability, within the framework of the State Scientific and Technical Research Plan and Innovation 2013-2016.


*Ambrosi-Randic, N., & Tokuda, K. (2004). Perception of body image among Japanese and Croatian children of preschool age. Perceptual and motor skills, 98(2), 473-478. doi: 10.2466/pms.98.2.473-478 [ Links ]

American Psychiatric Association (2014). DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria Reference Guide. Arlington: Author. [ Links ]

*Birbeck, D., & Drummond, M. (2005). Interviewing, and listening to the voices of, very young children on body image and perceptions of self. Early Child Development and Care, 176(6), 579-596. doi: 10.1080/03004430500131379 [ Links ]

*Birbeck, D., & Drummond, M. (2006a). Very young children’s body image: Bodies and minds under construction. International Education Journal, 7(4), 423-434. Retrieved from ]

*Birbeck, D., & Drummond, M. (2006b). Understanding boy’s bodies and masculinity in early childhood. International Journal of Men’s Health, 5(3), 238-250. [ Links ]

Borrego, F. J., López-Sánchez, G., & Díaz-Suárez, A. (2012). Physical condition influence in self-concept of a teens group of Alcantarilla. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 12(2), 57-62. Retrieved from ]

*Burgess, J. N., & Broome, M. E. (2012). Perceptions of weight and body image among preschool children: a pilot study. Pediatric nursing, 38(3), 147-176. Retrieved from http://www.proquest.comLinks ]

Collins, M. E. (1991). Body figure perceptions and preferences among preadolescent children. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 10(2), 199-208. doi: 10.1002/1098-108X [ Links ]

*Cramer, P., & Steinwert, T. (1998). Thin is good, fat is bad: How early does it begin?, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19(3), 429-451. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.comLinks ]

*Damiano, S., Gregg, K., Spiel, E., McLean, S., Wertheim, E., & Paxton, S. (2015). Relationships between body size attitudes and body image of 4-year-old boys and girls, and attitudes of their fathers and mothers. Journal of Eating Disorders, 3(16), 1-10. doi: 10.1186/s40337-015-0048-0 [ Links ]

*Davison, K. K., Markey, C. N., & Birch, L. L. (2000). Etiology of body dissatisfaction and weight concerns among 5-year-old girls. Appetite, 35(2), 143-151. doi: 10.1006/appe.2000.0349 [ Links ]

*Davison, K. K., Markey, C. N., & Birch, L. L. (2003). A longitudinal examination of patterns in girls’ weight concerns and body dissatisfaction from ages 5 to 9 years. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33(3), 320-332. doi: 10.1002/eat10142 [ Links ]

*Dohnt, H., & Tiggemann, M. (2005). Peer influences on body dissatisfaction and dieting awareness in young girls. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23(1), 110-116. doi: 10.1348/026151004X20658 [ Links ]

*Dohnt, H., & Tiggemann, M. (2006a). Body image concerns in young girls: the role of peers and media prior to adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(2), 141-151. doi: 10.1007/s10964-005-9020-7 [ Links ]

*Dohnt, H., & Tiggemann, M. (2006b). The contribution of peer and media influences to the development of body satisfaction and self-esteem in young girls: A prospective study. Developmental Psychology, 42(5), 929-936. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.42.5.929 [ Links ]

Dunphy-Lelii, S., Hooley, M., McGivern, L., Guha, A., & Skouteris, H. (2014). Preschoolers’ body-knowledge inaccuracy: perceptual self-deficit and attitudinal bias. Early Child Development and Care, 184(11), 1757-1768. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2014.881357 [ Links ]

*Dunphy-Lelii, S., Hooley, M., McGivern, L., Skouteris, H., & Cox, R. (2014). Can I reach that sticker? Preschoolers’ practical judgments about their own and others’ body size. Journal of Cognition and Development, 15(4), 584-598. doi: 10.1080/15248372.2013.797905 [ Links ]

Fernández-Bustos, J. G., González-Martí, I., & Contreras, O. (2015). Relación entre imagen corporal y autoconcepto físico en mujeres adolescents. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, 47(1), 25-33. doi: 10.1016/S0120-0534(15)30003-0 [ Links ]

Ferreiro, F., Seoane, G., & Senra, C. (2014). Toward understanding the role of body dissatisfaction in the gender differences in depressive symptoms and disordered eating: A longitudinal study during adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 37(1), 73-84. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.10.013 [ Links ]

Fredrickson, J., Kremer, P., Swinburn, B., de Silva-Sanigorski, A., & McCabe, M. (2013). Biopsychosocial correlates of weight status perception in Australian adolescents. Body image, 10(4), 552-557. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2013.06.008 [ Links ]

González-Martí, I., Fernández, J. G., Hernández-Martínez, A., & Contreras, O. R. (2014). Physical perceptions and self-concept in athletes with muscle dysmorphia symptoms. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17(e43), 1-7. doi: 10.1017/sjp.2014.45 [ Links ]

Harriger, J. A. (2014). Age differences in body size stereotyping in a sample of preschool girls. Eating Disorders, 23(2), 177-190. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2014.964610 [ Links ]

Harriger, J. A., Calogero, R. M., Witherington, D., & Smith, J. E. (2010). Body size stereotyping and internalization of the thin ideal in preschool girls. Sex Roles, 63(9), 609-620. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9868-1 [ Links ]

Hart, L., Damiano, S., Cornell, C., & Paxton, S. (2015). What parents know and want to learn about healthy eating and body image in preschool children: a triangulated qualitative study with parents and Early Childhood Professional. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 1-13. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-1865-4 [ Links ]

*Hayes, S., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2010). Am I too fat to be a princess? Examining the effects of popular children’s media on young girls’ body image. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 28(2), 413-426. doi: 10.1348/026151009X424240 [ Links ]

Heron, K. E., Smyth, J. M., Akano, E., & Wonderlich, S. A. (2013). Assessing body image in young children: a preliminary study of racial and development differences. SAGE open, 3(1), 1-7. doi: 10.1177/2158244013478013 [ Links ]

*Holub, S. C. (2008). Individual differences in the anti-fat attitudes of preschool-children: The importance of perceived body size. Body image, 5(3), 317-321. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2008.03.003 [ Links ]

*Li, Y., Hu, X., Ma, W., Wu, J., & Ma, G. (2005). Body image perceptions among Chinese children and adolescents. Body image, 2(2), 91-103. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.04.001 [ Links ]

López-Sánchez, L., López-Sánchez, F., & Díaz-Suárez, A. (2015). Effects of a physical activity program on the body image of schoolchildren with adhd. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 15(2), 135-142. doi: 10.4321/S1578-84232015000200015 [ Links ]

Mancilla, A., Vázquez, R., Mancilla, J. M., Amaya, A., & Álvarez, G. (2012). Body dissatisfaction in children and preadolescents: a systematic review. Revista Mexicana de Trastornos Alimentarios, 3(1), 62-79. Retrieved from https://dialnet.unirioja.esLinks ]

Méndez-Giménez, A., Cecchini-Estrada, J. A., & Fernández-Río, J. (2014). Examining the 3x2 achievement goal model in the Physical Education context. Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte, 14(3), 157-168. doi: 10.4321/S1578-84232014000300017 [ Links ]

*McCabe, M. P., Ricciardelli, L. A., Stanford, J., Holt, K., Keegan, S., & Miller, L. (2007). Where is all the pressure coming from? Messages from mothers and teachers about preschool children’s appearance, diet and exercise. European Eating Disorders Review, 15(3), 221-230. doi: 10.1002/erv.717 [ Links ]

*Meers, M., Koball, A., Wagner, M., Laurene, K., & Musher-Eizenman, D. (2011). Assessing anti-fat bias in preschoolers: A comparison of a computer generated line-drawn figure array and photographic figure array. Body image, 8(3), 293-296. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.04.006 [ Links ]

Musher-Eizenman, D., Holub, S., Barnhart, A., Goldstein, S., & Edwards, L. (2004). Body size stigmatization in preschool children: The role of control attributions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 29(8), 613-620. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsh063 [ Links ]

*Musher-Eizenman, D., Holub, S., Edwards-Leeper, L., Persson, A., & Goldstein, S. (2003). The narrow range of acceptable body types of preschoolers and their mothers. Applied Developmental Psychology, 24(2), 259-272. doi: 10.1016/S0193-3973(03)00047-9 [ Links ]

Palacios, J., Marchesi, A., & Coll, C. (1990). Desarrollo psicológico y educación. Psicología evolutiva. Madrid: Alianza. [ Links ]

*Pallan, M., Hiam, L., Duda, J., & Adab, P. (2011). Body image, body dissatisfaction and weight status in south asian children: a cross-sectional study. Biomed Central, 11(21), 1-8. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-21 [ Links ]

Papalia, D., Wendkos, S., & Duskin, R. (2010). Desarrollo humano. México: McGraw-Hill. [ Links ]

*Ra, J. S., Yun, H. J., & Cho, Y. H. (2016). Teachers’ influence on weight perceptions in preschool children. Applied Nursing Research, 31, 111-116. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2016.01.005 [ Links ]

Raich, R. M. (2001). Body Image: Know and Value the Body Itself. Madrid: Pirámide. [ Links ]

Rich, S. S., Essery, E. V., Sanborn, C. F., DiMarco, N. M., Morales, L. K., & LeClere, S. M. (2008). Predictors of body size stigmatization in hispanic preschool children. International Journal of Obesity, 16(2), 11-17. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.446 [ Links ]

Santrock, J. W. (2007). Child development. México: McGraw-Hill. [ Links ]

Sarwer, D. B., Dilks, R. J., & Spitzer, J.C., (2012). Weight loss and changes in body image. En Cash, T. y Smolak, L. (Eds.), Body image. A handbook of science, practice and prevention (pp. 369-377). New York: Guilford Publications. [ Links ]

Schilder. P. (1983). The image and appearance of human body. Barcelona: Paidós. [ Links ]

Shroff, H., & Thompson, J. K. (2006). The tripartite influence model of body image and eating disturbance: A replication with adolescent girls. Body image, 3(1), 17-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2005.10.004 [ Links ]

*Shunk, J. A., & Birch, L. L. (2004). Girls at risk for overweight at age 5 are at risk for dietary restraint, disinhibited overeating, weight concerns, and greater weight gain from 5 to 9 years. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 104(7), 1120-1126. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2004.04.031 [ Links ]

Smolak, L. (2004). Body image in children and adolescents: where do we go from here?, Body image, 1(1), 15-28. doi: 10.1016/S1740-1445(03)00008-1 [ Links ]

Smolak, L. (2012). Body image development in childhood. En Cash, T. y Smolak, L. (Eds.), Body image. A handbook of science, practice and prevention (pp. 67-75). New York: Guilford Publications. [ Links ]

Tatangelo, G., McCabe, M., Mellor, D., & Mealey, A. (2016). A systematic review of body dissatisfaction and sociocultural messages related to the body among preschool children. Body image, 18, 86-95. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.06.003 [ Links ]

Thompson, J. K. (1990). Body image disturbance. Assessment and treatment. New York: Pergamon press. [ Links ]

*Tremblay, L., Lovsin, T., Zecevic, C., & Larivière, M. (2011). Perceptions of self in 3-5 year-old children: A preliminary investigation into the early emergence of body dissatisfaction. Body image, 8(3), 287-292. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2011.04.004 [ Links ]

Williams, N. A., Fournier, J., Coday, M., Richey, P. A., Tylavsky, F. A., & Hare, M. E. (2012). Body esteem, peer difficulties and perceptions of physical health in overweight and obese urban children aged 5 to 7. Child: health, care and development, 39(6), 825-834. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2012.01401.x [ Links ]

*Wong, Y., Chand, Y. J., & Lin, C. J. (2013). The influence of primary caregivers on body size and self-body image of preschool children in Taiwan. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 22(2), 283-291. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2013.22.2.05 [ Links ]

Received: November 24, 2016; Revised: January 16, 2017; Accepted: February 13, 2017

Correspondence: María-Pilar León, Department of Didactics of Musical, Plastic and Corporal Expression, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Faculty of Education of Albacete (Spain). E-mail:

Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License