There is little doubt that men and women view the world differently. The same can be said for how they view their bodies, according to a press release from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Researchers studied 1,900 adults, average age 69, participating in a physical activity program, and the results suggest that older men and women perceive their bodies differently. For example, both groups noted that their focus shifted from appearance to functionality as they aged; however, men appeared to place greater importance on functionality than women did. Participating in physical activity programs brought greater satisfaction with appearance and functionality and also reduced symptoms of depression. The older adults’ satisfaction on both counts was generally lower among Caucasians than among African Americans, the researchers added. Caucasians also had a greater association between physical activity and body satisfaction.
“In one way this is a little disheartening to think that women and men are still wrestling with being satisfied with the appearance of their bodies, even after a life full of various points of meaning,” admitted study author Renee Umstattd, PhD, assistant professor of health education at Baylor. “From another angle, the study provides support to promote increased physical activity for older adults and provide effective programming to increase physical activity rates of older adults.”