Introduction: Observing parents’ body-focused behaviours during middle childhood is one of the initial ways in which children model their perceptions of pro-health attitudes and their connection to physical attractiveness. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between parents' health behaviours, their appearance, and the perceptions of adult body types (skinny, medium, obese) by their five-year-old children. Moreover, the role of gender in the above relationship for both children and parents was also examined. Materials and methods: This study participants were 680 families with five-year-old children (330 girls). Participation was limited to the moth-er-father-child triad. The Beauty and Health Scale, Healthy Behaviour Inventory, Inventory of Physical Activity Objectives, and a body composition analyser were used to measure body fat percentage. Results: Assessment of pictures of male silhouettes by five-year-old girls revealed the perception that men who exercise do not lose weight but maintain a healthy, attractive appearance. However, they believed that women should actively lose weight to achieve an attractive figure. Interestingly, women were more likely to be perceived as overweight, despite engaging in physical activity. Conclusions: This study underscores the importance of integrating health education and physical activity interventions into family-oriented disease prevention programmes aimed at cultivating positive health behaviours in children as well as parents.

Author ORCID Identifier

Agata Kamionka ORCID: 0000-0002-6479-3471

Mariusz Lipowski ORCID:0000-0002-8389-7006

Sebastian Lizińczyk ORCID: 0000-0002-8642-5944

Urszula Sarajewicz-Radtke ORCID: 0000-0003-4306-7574

Bartosz Radke ORCID: 0000-0001-6376-4719

Ariadna Łada-Maśko ORCID: 0000-0003-3659-312X

Dariusz Olszewski-Strzyżowski ORCID: 0000-0001-7179-2808

Małgorzata Lipowska ORCID: 0000-0002-7422-159X

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.