Weight perceptions across diverse world regions appear consistent among educated men/women
19 May 2006
Weight perceptions across diverse world regions appear consistent among educated young men and women.
According to a study from England, "Young women in the United States and Western Europe are notoriously concerned about weight but less is known about attitudes to weight in other regions of the world. This study explores the associations between body mass index (BMI), weight perceptions, and attempts to lose weight in male and female university students from 22 countries."
"Data were collected from 18,512 university students, using standardized methods, as part of the International Health Behavior Survey," explained Professor Jane Wardle [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health] and colleagues. "Measures included weight, height, perception of overweight, and weight loss status. BMI was calculated from weight and height, but was categorized into gender and country-standardized deciles rather than the conventional weight categories in response to the inaccuracy of self-reports." …
They concluded, "This study shows the international consistency in perceptions of overweight in educated young men and women across diverse regions of the world. It confirms the patterning of women's overestimation of weight at lower BMI deciles and men's underestimation of weight at the higher deciles. Perceptions of overweight and attempts to lose weight were highest in the group of Asian countries where body weights are generally low, suggesting that local culture and norms could moderate attitudes to weight."
Wardle and colleagues published their study in 'International Journal of Obesity'. …