Aim: The aim of the present study was to determine the attitude of women involved in fitness physical activity (PA) towards weight loss and to find out factors that may possibly lead to weight loss behaviors.
Methods: The study sample consisted of 352 women involved in recreational PA in health and fitness clubs. Participants filled a questionnaire that was designed to assess weight related aspects of body image, dieting prior to PA, PA motivation, exercise experience, frequency and instructor's encouragement to go on diet. The relative incidence of weight loss behavior and emotional weight related state across age (<22 years, 22-31 years, >31 years), body mass index (BMI), exercise experience groups (>2 years, <2 years) was tested by use of c2 analysis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the dependence of variables that can trigger the drive to lose weight.
Results: The greater dissatisfaction with the body weight was related with the younger age, while younger age did not predicted current dieting. Higher than normal BMI predicted overeating behavior. Lowest BMI (less than 18.5) was related with higher overestimation of body weight. PA experience was related with higher body shape satisfaction. Weight control related dieting prior to PA predicted negative feelings about weight gain and current weight related dieting. Obligatory body shape improvement motivation was related to more negative feelings of weight control. Sport instructor's encouragement to go on diet predicted dieting and overeating.
Conclusions: The strongest predictors of weight loss behavior were obligatory motivation to improve body shape through exercising, dieting prior to PA and instructors' encouragement to go on a diet.