By Vishakha Sonawane, Parent Herald | October 15, 9:25 AM
Midlife transition is generally associated with mood fluctuations in women and little can make them feel happy about themselves. A latest study by American researchers shows that just 12. 2 percent of middle-aged women are satisfied with their body size.
Researchers at the University Of North Carolina School Of Medicine analysed Gender and Body Image (GABI) studied 1,789 women, aged 50 and above. They studied the profile of older women who reported body size satisfaction based on silhouettes. These participants were asked questions on dieting, eating disorders symptoms, current weight, shape concerns and quality of life.
According to the observations, only 12.2 percent of the respondents confessed to being satisfied with their body size. This was also linked to better overall health. The research also found that women content with their body size had lower body mass index and fewer eating disorder symptoms and dieting issues.
Cynthia Bulik, PhD and corresponding author of the study stated that women who were happy with their bodies were not influenced by other aspects of their physical appearance and rather aged gracefully. These participants also exercised regularly.
The study found that large numbers of middle-aged women were dissatisfied with their physical appearances. Nearly 56.2 percent of women said they were not happy with their stomach and 53.8 percent reported to be unhappy with their face. As much as 78.8 percent said they were discontent with their skin.
External factors such as cosmetic surgery did not influence the respondents. What remained a matter of concern for most women was their weight and shape.
The number of middle-aged women unhappy with their body was concerning but researchers said that they were rather interested in knowing how women, who were comfortable in their skin, stayed happy despite 'social pressures'.
"... We were interested in how some women remain happy with their size and shape, given ubiquitous social pressures to retain a youthful thin appearance, and the influence of a multibillion dollar anti-aging cosmetics industry," said Cristin Runfola, PhD and study lead author.
"Our findings underscore the need for a multifaceted approach to studying and assessing body image in women as they mature, as their bodies undergo constant age-related change," Bulik concluded.