Study aim: To determine whether the self-assessment of body mass has an impact on the nutritional behaviour of young women.
Material and methods: The material was gathered in cross-sectional research of 1129 female university students. The measurements of body height, body mass, and waist and hip circumference were taken. Each person completed a questionnaire concerned the nutritional habits, recreational physical activity, and self-perception of body mass. In this work, only the data of 925 students with BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 were included.
Results: Of the participants, 2.8% of the students assessed their body mass as too low, 75.4% as correct, and 21.8% as too high. Students assessing their body mass as too low featured the lowest values of BMI and waist circumference, whereas those with a body mass assessment of too high featured the highest values of BMI. Those students with a body mass assessment as too high followed a diet and skipped meals far more frequently, consumed breads and sweets far less frequently, and drank more liquids daily than students who assessed their body mass as correct. No differences were found in the frequency of recreational physical activity in relation to self-perception of body mass.
Conclusions: BMI values above population average, even if they fit within the norm, are regarded by the students as too high. The self-assessment of body mass as too high results in undertaking efforts aimed at reducing body mass.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.