Background: Although the impact of physical activity on controlling or reducing obesity has been well documented, the components that can affect this relationship have not been well defined. Hence, the current study aimed at examining the relationship between physical activity and adiposity in children with a consideration of self-esteem and body-image as mediators.
Methods: This study followed a descriptive-correlational design. In Total, 384 children (average age of 7.67 ± 0.82 years) from Gorgan, Iran, in 2022 participated in this study. Physical Activity Behavior in Leisure-Time Scale, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire–Appearance Scales were used for assessing Physical activity, self-esteem, and body-image, respectively. BMI was calculated for assessing adiposity. Structural equation modeling was implemented for analyzing the collected data.
Results: Our sample had relatively low levels of physical activity and boys had higher levels of physical activity than girls (3.48 vs. 2.04 days/weeks, respectively, t=5.79, P<0.001). Physical activity had inversely affected BMI (T=-7.769). Moreover, Physical activity positively affected self-esteem (T=6.967) and body-image (T=4.740). Finally, self-esteem and body-image significantly mediated the association between physical activity and BMI (P<0.001).
Conclusion: Overall, self-esteem and body-image can be considered as psychological predictors of obesity. In addition, physical activity and obesity are critical concerns about children. Accordingly, it is necessary to adopt appropriate strategies for enhancing active lifestyle among this population.