The use of a 3D avatar to determine the association between actual and perceived body mass index
- Advances in Obesity, Weight Management & Control
Claire Mills, Kate Cooling
Introduction: Literature surrounding body image, body composition and Body Mass Index (BMI) have shown that when participant use visual impressions, they can often lead to a false sense of weight status. Therefore, the main objectives of this investigation was to determine participants BMI and to establish the correlation between actual and perceived BMI.
Method: n=32 female participants (x±s; body mass=70.1±13.6 kg, stretched stature=172.4±8.1 cm) were recruited. A computer generated (Unity Player) 3D Avatar rotated 3600 and permitted a visual slide from an underweight to average to obese continuum. Stretched stature (m) and body mass (kg) was taken and values used to calculate BMI (kg/m2). P value was set at (P<0.001) and a Paired t-Test was used to test for the difference and Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient was used to test for the strength of the association between the actual and perceived BMI.Results: Perceived BMI ranged from 16.5 – 32.5 (x23.5±4.1), whereas the actual BMI ranged from 17.7 – 31.3 (x24.3±3.7). A Paired t-test and Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient found values ranged from -5.3 and 8.6 (x- 0.2±2.5) and a value of t=0.81 and r=0.68 suggesting a significant difference between actual and perceived BMI (P<0.001).
Discussion: This investigation reports that perceived BMI was higher than the participants actual BMI and that the use of visual impressions led to a false sense of weight status.
Recommendations: Further research is necessary to investigate the reasons behind these perceived versus actual differences and the creation of a 3D Avatar for male participants and younger populations would be beneficial.
body mass index, 3D avatar, perceptions, weight status