Body shape, image, and composition are three different but related concepts used to describe people. Body shape, also known as somatotype, represents the tangible body, which can be externally observed and measured without destroying or hurting it. On the contrary, body image represents the subjective and intangible human nature, a construct that we try to define by applying validated scientific tools—a set of dimensions easily affected by psychological perception. Instead, body composition represents the physical parts grouped into similar compartments. Due to the fact that it cannot be observed or measured with the naked eye, and in order to reduce measurement error, we try to measure them with the highest and most accurate available technology. Shape, image, and composition affect sport?s performance. Sports literature mentions, sometimes interchangeably, form, image, and body composition. So when we refer to them we have to distinguish them. Social, political, economic, cultural, educational, and genetic factors influence them. Technological advances in determining the shape and composition are reliable, but not the ones for body image, which needs further development. In this paper, the interrelation of these three aspects is described, with health and sport?s ambit indicators.
Part of the book: Fitness Medicine