A systematic review of body dissatisfaction and sociocultural messages related to the body among preschool children

Body Image. 2016 Sep;18:86-95. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jun 25.


This systematic review examines body dissatisfaction and the influence of sociocultural messages related to body image among preschool children. The review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines and 16 studies were included in the final analysis. Findings suggest that children under the age of 6 years old experience body dissatisfaction, however, the proportion of children who are dissatisfied varied from around 20% to 70%, depending on the method of assessment. The literature was divided on whether preschool aged girls experience more body dissatisfaction than boys. Parental influence appears to be an important factor in the development of preschool children's body dissatisfaction and attitudes. However, more research is needed to understand the influences of children's peers and the media. The need for more sensitive measures of body dissatisfaction and prevention programs for preschool children is discussed.

Keywords: BMI; Body dissatisfaction; Body image; Parents; Preschool children; Sociocultural.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / epidemiology
  • Body Dysmorphic Disorders / psychology*
  • Body Image*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media
  • Peer Group
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Values*
  • Socialization