The relationship between body dissatisfaction and body composition measurements among female university students
Over the past hundred years, the emphasis of the contemporary ideal body image for women has become a picture of extreme thinness. This thin image inflated the minds of young women to such an extent that it has become a great area of concern for both psychologists and health care providers. The first aim of the study was to identify the anthropometrical trends of first year female students, as well as to determine their body composition- related health risk. The second aim was to compare their anthropometric profiles to their degree of body image distortion (Body Dissatisfaction and Drive for Thinness). The mean age of the women was 18.9 years. Their mean stature (165.0 cm) compared well with the U.S. norms for stature, whereas their mean body mass (62.4 kg) tested slightly higher than the U.S. norms for body mass for women aged 16 to 20 years. Regarding the waist- and hip girths, the group tested shapely for a medium U.S. trouser size. The majority of subjects fell in the low risk category for the BMI (18.5 - 24-91, whereas their body fat percentages revealed average health risk. The total group was at low health risk regarding their waist-to-hip ratios. The group presented significant body-image distortion in all body-composition health-risk categories i.e. BMI and body-fat percentage as well as the isolated body mass value (p<0.01). No significant relationships was found between the psychological parameters and the waist-to-hip ratio (p>0.01). This is most likely due to the fact that the WHR is a measure of fat distribution mainly around the waist and hips, and not a measure of weight or fatness. Individuals in the "normal-weight" category for BMI presented higher BD and DT scores than those in the "under-weight" category. The same was true for the "average" and "low" fat-percentage categories. The overweight and obese categories of both the BMI and body-fat percentage parameters were underrepresented by the subjects and were consequently excluded from the conclusions. The BMl proved to be the strongest predictor of body-image distortion, with the isolated body mass value following second in line and the body-fat percentage value being the weakest, yet significant predictor of distorted body image among these subjects. Again, the WHR was of no prediction value for distorted body image among young women. These results greatly supported the literature findings and provided significant ground for the recognition of body-image distortion in young women and the development of intervention programs for this fragile population group.
- ETD@PUK