Relationship between body image and percent body fat among college male varsity athletes and nonathletes

Percept Mot Skills. 1993 Dec;77(3 Pt 1):851-7. doi: 10.2466/pms.1993.77.3.851.


Three groups of students from a large midwestern university (15 varsity swimmers, 15 varsity football players, and 15 nonathletes) were administered a 20-item questionnaire concerned with body image and subsequently underwent skinfold measurements to assess percent body fat. Scores obtained were correlated to estimate the relationship between body image and adiposity. For the groups combined (N = 45) the relationship was significant and inverse (r = -0.51). For the nonathletic group a significant value -0.76 was found; for the two groups of athletes there was no relationship (rs = 0.002 and -0.059 for football players and swimmers, respectively). We conclude that body image as measured in this study in inversely related to percent body fat among college men, especially among students not engaged in varsity sports.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Constitution*
  • Body Image*
  • Football / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Skinfold Thickness*
  • Swimming / psychology*