Body image in obese women before, during, and after weight loss treatment

Health Psychol. 1997 May;16(3):226-9. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.16.3.226.


Body image, as measured by the Appearance Evaluation and Body Areas Satisfaction scales of the Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (T.F. Cash, 1994b), was assessed in 59 obese women before, during, and after 48 weeks of weight loss treatment. Before treatment, positive ratings of body image were associated with higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of dysphoria, and fewer previous diets. After 24 weeks and a mean weight loss of 19.4 kg (SD = 6.5), participants showed significant (p < .0001) improvements in body image. A small weight gain from Week 24 to Week 48 was associated with a slight but significant worsening in both measures of body image. Nevertheless, after 48 weeks and a mean weight loss of 16.3 kg (SD = 7.1), body image was significantly improved from baseline (p < .0001). Changes in body image were not related to changes in weight. Future studies are needed to separate the effects of treatment and weight loss on body image in obese persons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Self Concept
  • Weight Loss*