Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between body image and body mass index (BMI) in attendees at a health fair. BMI and body image was also compared between races, ages and genders. It was hypothesized that there would be discrepancies between perceived body image and weight status, as measured by BMI. Sixty-two participants at a health fair in Cincinnati completed a survey about perceived body image and had their height and weight measured and BMI calculated later. Results suggested a positive relationship between BMI and body image. Participants with a higher BMI identified themselves with a higher score (smaller BMI) on the Reese Scale. These results were inconsistent with Data from the 1991 National Health Interview Survey which was used to assess the U.S. adult population. Most people in the 1991 survey classified themselves correctly according to standard BMI. In this study, many participants incorrectly identified themselves using the Reese Scale, and unrealistically perceived their current body size. In this study, there were no differences based on race, age, or gender. These results were inconsistent with previous research studies that suggest differences among race, age and gender. Participants also answered survey questions about current weight, satisfaction, motivation and use of diet and exercise in weight loss.