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Review
, 16 (2), 150-60

Literature Review: Perceptions and Management of Body Size Among Normal Weight and Moderately Overweight People

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Review

Literature Review: Perceptions and Management of Body Size Among Normal Weight and Moderately Overweight People

N K Nissen et al. Obes Rev.

Abstract

Improved understanding of how normal weight and moderately overweight people manage their body weight and shape could be used to inform initiatives to prevent and treat obesity. This literature review offers a thorough appraisal of existing research into perceptions and management of own body size among normal weight and moderately overweight people. The studies reported in the 47 publications reviewed here address various themes based on different conceptualizations. The studies point out that normal weight and moderately overweight people are much concerned about their body size, but huge discrepancies are found between their own perceptions and study categorizations. The studies also indicate that normal weight and moderately overweight people are actively engaged in managing their body size through numerous managing strategies, and dieting is widespread. Together the studies do not form a unified and coherent research field, and there is a bias towards North American study populations. Methodological problems were identified in some publications, raising questions about generalizability of the findings. Moreover, only few studies give deeper insight into the specific perceptions and actions. Repeated studies are needed in broader and more differentiated geographical, social and cultural contexts, and longitudinal studies and more in-depth explorations are especially needed.

Keywords: Body weight; literature review; weight management; weight perception.

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