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Body Appearance Important For Older Adults

WACO, Texas, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Body appearance satisfaction may be more important for younger people, especially women, but it is still important among older adults, U.S. researchers say.

Study author Dr. Renee Umstattd, assistant professor of health education at Baylor University, and colleagues found that as men and women age, there is a shift in body satisfaction away from appearance and toward body functionality.

However, when comparing concerns across genders, satisfaction with body functionality was more important for men than women. Another finding showed by increasing body satisfaction in both appearance and function, depressive symptoms of older adults were reduced, Umstattd says.

The research found programs that are successful at increasing participation in physical activity among older adults not only decrease the risk of a multitude of chronic diseases, but also increase one’s satisfaction with body function and satisfaction with body appearance.

The study, published online in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, showed that white older adults have lower overall body satisfaction and place a stronger relationship between physical activity and body satisfaction than African-American older adults.

However, researchers found that improvements in satisfaction with body function and body appearance were more likely among white participants.

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