Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Health Psychology Research


This study addressed the role of chronic exercise to enhance physical self-description as measured by self-estimated percent body fat. Accuracy of physical self-description was determined in normal-weight, regularly exercising and non-exercising males with similar body mass index (BMI)’s and females with similar BMI’s (n=42 males and 45 females of which 23 males and 23 females met criteria to be considered chronic exercisers). Statistical analyses were conducted to determine the degree of agreement between self-estimated percent body fat and actual laboratory measurements (hydrostatic weighing). Three statistical techniques were employed: Pearson correlation coefficients, Bland and Altman plots, and regression analysis. Agreement between measured and self-estimated percent body fat was superior for males and females who exercised chronically, compared to nonexercisers. The clinical implications are as follows. Satisfaction with one’s body can be influenced by several factors, including self-perceived body composition. Dissatisfaction can contribute to maladaptive and destructive weight management behaviors. The present study suggests that regular exercise provides a basis for more positive weight management behaviors by enhancing the accuracy of self-assessed body composition.


©Copyright J.M. Berning et al., 2014. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Published in Health Psychology Research by PAGEpress. Available via doi: 10.4081/hpr.2014.1746.