Body dissatisfaction is linked to poor physical health, even after actual markers of health have been controlled for. This link is likely due to body dissatisfaction influencing health behaviors—more specifically, cardiovascular exercise. Modifiable reasons for this link have yet to be determined. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate whether active avoidance of exercise may explain the association of body dissatisfaction with exercise, and, if so, whether perceived barriers to exercise account for the association of body dissatisfaction and exercise avoidance. Baseline measures were collected via survey; physical activity was measured over time, via self-report. As expected, avoidance mediated the prospective relationship between dissatisfaction and exercise. Additionally, the relationship between body dissatisfaction and avoidance was mediated by embarrassment and fatigue. Interventions that boost body satisfaction and/or address perceptions of fatigue and embarrassment may be needed for individuals with body dissatisfaction to be more likely to participate in exercise-related programs.
- Body image
- Perceived behavioral control