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Body Size Comparison, Australians & Tongans

Weight Loss Study Aim
Obesity levels in Tonga are high and increasing. Attempts to address this issue would be aided by a realistic concept of current and preferred body sizes. In this study, body size perception in Tongans was compared with that of Australians.

Weight Loss Subjects
542 Tongans, 89 of whom were enrolled in a weight-loss program; 481 Australians.

Weight Loss Measurements
Subjects were weighed and measured. Two series of photographs (one female, one male), representing specific body mass indexes (BMIs) were used to assess body perception.

Weight Loss Results
The BMIs of the Tongans were higher than those of the Australians. Tongan women underestimated their body size; Tongan men and Australians overestimated. Weight-loss program and younger Tongan women preferred smaller body sizes for themselves and for men and women in general. There were gender differences in preferred healthy and attractive female sizes and male sizes chosen by Tongans. Preferred, attractive and healthy body sizes chosen by Australian men and women were similar.

Weight Loss Conclusion
Tongans preferred larger body sizes than did Australians, particularly the men, but weight-loss program women's preferences were similar to those of Australians. There is evidence that preferences are changing in Tonga with time, and probably with increasing Western influence.

Source: International Journal of Obesity

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