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Children's understanding of health and illness is influenced by their knowledge of internal anatomy and physiological functioning. This article provides a comprehensive review of studies of children's knowledge of internal anatomy, one component of internal body image. Consistencies, controversies, and methodological issues that emerge across the studies are discussed. A conceptual framework for the development of children's internal body image is presented. The framework posits relationships between cognitive development, health status, knowledge of internal body image, and understanding of physiological functioning. Future studies are needed to test and refine the conceptual framework and to develop interventions to facilitate children's internal body image.
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