Pediatric obesity is a national epidemic with serious medical implications. Currently, almost one-quarter of children in the United States are overweight. Without intervention, children typically are unable to outgrow obesity and the majority of overweight children become overweight adults. Further, childhood obesity results in numerous psychological consequences, including dissatisfaction with body image. Thus, prevention and treatment of childhood obesity are crucial to protect children from the resultant physical and psychological risk factors which will impact their future health. The Growing Fit Program is a pediatric clinic in the Department of Pediatrics at Loma Linda University, which seeks to serve the critical need of the increasing numbers of obese children. Growing Fit employs a multi-disciplinary approach including nutrition education, exercise, support group, medical and psychological evaluation, and parental involvement. This study evaluated children attending Growing Fit in order to assess whether the child's physiological (diastolic blood pressure) and emotional (emotional eating) health is associated with an improvement of body image from commencement of the program until completion of the program. Further, the study evaluated ethnic differences and gender differences in perceived body image after having participated in the program.

As a full model, diastolic blood pressure and level of emotional eating were not significant variables in predicting body image satisfaction at exit, with emotional eating approaching significance. However, the difference in degree of emotional eating from intake to exit did predict higher body image satisfaction at exit. Additionally, ethnic and gender differences in body image satisfaction were discovered. These results can provide vital information about how perceptions and outcomes on body image play a role in treatment for obese children who are at risk for negative social and psychological consequences.

LLU Discipline

Experimental Psychology




School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Mary-Catherin Freier

Second Advisor

Todd Burley

Third Advisor

Terrie L. Naramor

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Obesity -- in infancy and childhood; Obesity -- psychology; Child; Child Nutrition Disorders -- psychology; Body Image; Adolescent Nutrition; Obesity -- prevention and control



Page Count

ix; 56

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives