A Cross-sectional Study of the Pattern of Body Image Perception among Female Students of BBM College in Vijayapur, North Karnataka LC05-LC09
Dr. B.M. Rashmi,
# 337/16-A-14, Ganesha Layout, Behind Vishwas Fuels, Near Fire Station,
PB Road, Davanagere, 577001, India.
Introduction: Body image is an essential aspect of young girls’ self-definition and individual identity which is influenced by various biological, psychological and social factors. Excessive concern about body image, body image misconception are leading to dissatisfaction, disturbed eating patterns, affecting the nutritional status and also leading to depression and anxiety disorders. This concept of body image has been less explored in Indian context, especially among young girls.
Aims: The objectives of the study were to assess the body image perception among young college going girls, using a visual analog scale and to compare body image perception and satisfaction with their BMI levels and weight changing methods adopted.
Materials and Methods: An exploratory cross-sectional study was conducted among 63 female students studying BBM course at a private commerce institution in Vijayapur city. Data was collected using a self administered questionnaire containing details of basic socio-demographic information and a validated visual analogue scale. Height was measured by Seca Stadiometer, weight was measured using Digital weighing machine and Body Mass Index levels were calculated. Percentages were calculated for descriptive variables. Chi-square test was applied for analysing categorical variables. Spearman Rank correlation test was applied for analysing ordinal data.
Results: A 39.7% of participants were underweight and 15.9% were overweight/obese. Majority of underweight and overweight girls (72% and 89%, respectively) perceived themselves as normal weight. Body image satisfaction of participants was found to be significantly associated with their body image perception, mothers’ educational status and also with relatives’ and peer group’s opinions about their body weight. Unhealthy weight changing patterns like skipping meals (13%), increasing quantity and frequency of meals (17%) were reported among study participants.
Conclusion: This exploratory study highlights the gap between young girls’ body image perception and their BMI levels, indicating body image misconception. Lower literacy level of mothers and opinions of relatives and friends significantly influenced body image satisfaction among study participants. Higher percentage of underweight (39.7%) coupled with unhealthy weight changing patterns reportedly adopted by participants (30%) indicates need for further research on this issue, to help inform public health nutrition programmes.