Perceived and desired body weight among female university students in relation to BMI-based weight status and socio-economic factors
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Department of Anthropology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland
Institute of Public Health, Jan Kochanowski University, Kielce, Poland
Department of Biotechnology and Molecular Biology, Opole University, Opole, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(3):533–538
The aim of the study was to verify if the accuracy of weight perception among young women depends on their socio-economic status and BMI–based weight status. In addition, the survey contained questions whether women were satisfied with their weight and tested if the desire to change weight is affected by real body weight and weight perception. The sample consisted of 1,129 female university students, aged 20–24. BMI was calculated from measured weight and height. The questionnaire contained questions about socio-economic status, weight perception and desired body weight. 71.9% of the surveyed students correctly estimated, 24.2% overestimated and 3.9% underestimated their body weight. Underweight women tended to incorrectly assess their body weight more often than normal weight women or overweight women (43.2% vs. 75.4% vs. 77.2%). Students from families of high socio-economic status slightly more often estimated their weight status correctly than students with average and low status, but the difference was statistically significant only in the case of the factor “mother’s education”. Most of surveyed women expressed the desire to weigh less or/and to have thinner waist, hips or thighs. The desire to be thinner was associated with body weight status and body weight perception.