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Construct validity of a figure rating scale for Brazilian adolescents

Fernando Adami1*, Deivis Elton Schlickmann Frainer2, Fernando de Souza Almeida3, Luiz Carlos de Abreu3, Vitor E Valenti4, Marcelo Marcos Piva Demarzo3, Carlos Bandeira de Mello Monteiro3 and Fernando R de Oliveira5

Author affiliations

1 Departamento de Saúde da Coletividade, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Av. Príncipe de Gales, 821, 09060650, Santo André, SP, Brazil

2 Instituto de Saúde Coletiva, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador-Bahia, Brazil

3 Laboratório de Escrita Científica, Departamento de Morfologia e Fisiologia, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, Av. Príncipe de Gales, 821, 09060650, Santo André, SP, Brazil

4 Departamento de Fonoaudiologia, Faculdade de Filosofia e Ciências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Av. Higyno Muzzi Filho, 737. 17, 525900 Marília, SP, Brazil

5 Universidade Federal de Lavras, Câmpus Universitário, 37200-000 Lavras, MG, Brazil

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Citation and License

Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:24  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-24

Published: 13 April 2012



Figure rating scales were developed as a tool to determine body dissatisfaction in women, men, and children. However, it lacks in the literature the validation of the scale for body silhouettes previously adapted. We aimed to obtain evidence for construct validity of a figure rating scale for Brazilian adolescents.


The study was carried out with adolescent students attending three public schools in an urban region of the municipality of Florianopolis in the State of Santa Catarina (SC). The sample comprised 232 10-19-year-old students, 106 of whom are boys and 126 girls, from the 5th "series" (i.e. year) of Primary School to the 3rd year of Secondary School. Data-gathering involved the application of an instrument containing 8 body figure drawings representing a range of children's and adolescents' body shapes, ranging from very slim (contour 1) to obese (contour 8). Weights and heights were also collected, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated later. BMI was analyzed as a continuous variable, using z-scores, and as a dichotomous categorical variable, representing a diagnosis of nutritional status (normal and overweight including obesity).


Results showed that both males and females with larger BMI z-scores chose larger body contours. Girls with higher BMI z-scores also show higher values of body image dissatisfaction.


We provided the first evidence of validity for a figure rating scale for Brazilian adolescents.

Body contour; Adolescents; Validity; Body image