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

  • María-Pilar León University of Castilla-La Mancha
  • Irene González-Martí University of Castilla-La Mancha
  • Juan-Gregorio Fernández-Bustos University of Castilla-La Mancha
  • Onofre Contreras University of Castilla-La Mancha
Keywords: body image, pre-school education, body dissatisfaction, body perception, children.


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.


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Author Biographies

María-Pilar León, University of Castilla-La Mancha
Departamento de Didáctica de la Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal
Irene González-Martí, University of Castilla-La Mancha
Departamento de Didáctica de la Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal
Juan-Gregorio Fernández-Bustos, University of Castilla-La Mancha
Departamento de Didáctica de la Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal
Onofre Contreras, University of Castilla-La Mancha
Departamento de Didáctica de la Expresión Musical, Plástica y Corporal


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How to Cite
León, M.-P., González-Martí, I., Fernández-Bustos, J.-G., & Contreras, O. (2017). Perception of body size and dissatisfaction in children aged 3 to 6: a systematic review. Anales De Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 34(1), 173-183.
Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity