Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Summer 6-7-2016


Cleveland, A. (2016). The Relationship among Fifth Grade Physical Education Students' Body Size Perception, FITNESSGRAM Scores, and Physical Activity Level. MS Thesis, University of Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Nutrition and Health Sciences, Under the Supervision of Professor Linda Boeckner. Lincoln, NE: May 2016

Copyright © 2016 Ashley Cleveland


Purpose: This study aims to explore the correlation between students’ self-perception of body image and FITNESSGRAM scores, the relationship between children’s body perceptions and their actual body mass index (BMI), and to see if body image in children affects their physical activity level.

Methods: FITNESSGRAM fitness testing protocol and a survey developed for the KidQuest nutrition intervention program by South Dakota State University (SDSU) was used to assess the correlation between students’ (n= 319) self-perception of body image and FITNESSGRAM scores. In addition accelerometers were used to assess the physical activity level of a subsample (n=57) of the students during an in-class physical education period.

Results: On average, students perceived themselves as smaller than their BMI suggested. Those who had a self-perception of a larger body weight, scored lower on their curl-up, 90-degree push up, and PACER fitness tests. There was a significant negative correlation between self-perceived body weight and curl-up, 90-degree push up, and PACER fitness tests (pConclusions:Results of this research can inform future work in the area of youth body image and fitness interventions, with body image identified as a strong determinant of weight management and nutritional habits among adolescents. Specifically, fitness testing can be influenced by body image. Although there were no correlations with physical activity level in a regular physical education class and body image, it would be interesting to see if this result changed with longer time allotment.

Advisor: Linda Boeckner