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African Health Sciences
Makerere University Medical School
ISSN: 1680-6905
EISSN: 1680-6905
Vol. 12, No. 4, 2012, pp. 464-472
Bioline Code: hs12080
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Health Sciences, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2012, pp. 464-472

 en Perceived body image and weight: discrepancies and gender differences among University undergraduates
Maruf, FA; Akinpelu, AO & Nwankwo, MJ


Background: Body image (BI) is a multidimensional construct that includes perceptual, attitudinal, behavioural components, and feedback from other people’s perception of oneself. The feedback from others and the degree to which one accepts or rejects it can determine self evaluation and perception. Body weight perception is a strong determinant of nutritional habits and weight management among adolescents. One of the barriers to reducing rise in obesity prevalence could be its cultural acceptability in some developing countries.
Objective: To explore the gender influences on perception of self- and opposite-sex body images (BI), perceived body weight and the actual body weight categories at which discrepancies occur among the perceived BIs in undergraduates.
Methods: This was a survey of perceptual dimension of BI, perceived body weight and actual body weight carried out in 121 undergraduates aged 21-29years.
Results: Discrepancies occurred between self-perceived BI and each of actual body weight (p= 0.00 at 0.00-0.02 confidence interval (CI)), perceived body weight (p= 0.01 at 0.000-0.02 CI) and self-ideal BI (p= 0.03 at 0.000-0.05 CI) of normalweight males. Self-perceived BI and perceived body weight also differed in normal-weight females (p= 0.02 at 0.000-0.04 CI). Discrepancies (p= 0.02 at 0.00-0.04 CI) occurred between self-perceived BI and self-ideal BI, and between self-perceived BI and desired BI (p= 0.02 at 0.00-0.04 CI) in overweight females. Gender differences occurred for self-ideal BI (p= 0.00 at 0.00-0.02 CI), ideal image for the opposite sex (IBIOS) (p= 0.02 at 0.00-0.04 CI) and desired BI (p= 0.00 at 0.00-0.02 CI).
Conclusion: Normal-weight males perceived their BI differently from their actual body weight, perceived body weight and self-ideal BI whereas normal-weight females perceived their BI differently from only their perceived body weight. Discrepancies occur between self-ideal BI and self-perceived BI, and between self-perceived BI and desired BI in overweight females. There are differential perceptions of self-ideal BI, IBIOS and desired BI between males and females.

Perceived body Image, opposite sex, perceived body weight

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