Purpose: To explore the role of breakfast cereal consumption on the relationships among BMI, percent fat mass (%FM), and body esteem in young adults.
Methods: Weight, height, and %FM (by air displacement plethysmography) were measured in 29 males (aged 25.1 ± 4.0 years) and 28 females (aged 24.6 ± 4.0 years). Body esteem was measured using the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults (BESAA). Three-day food records classified participants as breakfast cereal consumers (n = 27, any amount of ready-to-eat or cooked cereal consumed at breakfast) versus nonconsumers (n = 30, no cereal consumed at breakfast).
Results: The %FM was significantly (P ≤ 0.05) inversely correlated with weight esteem (r = −0.769), appearance esteem (r = −0.723), and external attribution (r = −0.620) in female noncereal consumers. BMI was similarly correlated with BESAA scores. These relationships were not significant in female cereal consumers (all r < 0.426), despite no difference in confounding variables between female cereal consumers and nonconsumers. Neither BMI nor %FM were correlated with measures of body esteem (all r < 0.466, NS) in either male cereal consumers or nonconsumers.
Conclusions: Breakfast cereal consumption may moderate the relationship among BMI, %FM, and body esteem in young adult women and may be useful for improving body esteem without focusing on weight loss.