<bold>Background:</bold> An image on one's body is an important component of one's mental welfare. Scientific reports suggest that girls and women have a tendency to evaluate themselves through the prism of physical appearance and gender expectations influenced by cultural and unrealistic standards of beauty (slim, very lean, boy-like silhouette). The purpose of this study was to find out the opinions of young, healthy and physically active women about their bodies (BMI self-evaluation) and the ones connected with their dreams (the most satisfactory BMI) and reality (anthropometric measurements).
<bold>Material/Methods:</bold> The statistical analysis of the data was based on anthropometric measurements and a survey conducted on female students (N=1,394) from the first year of full-time studies at the Academy of Physical Education and Sport in Gdansk in the years 2000-2007.
<bold>Results:</bold> Overweight or obesity occurred in 5.9% of students. By contrast, during self-evaluation 30.62% of the women declared overweight or obesity. In self-evaluation among the tested group of students 29.17% of women with normal body weight claimed to have a higher BMI, and only 1.85% to have a lower one. It this group of young women, 59.97% are satisfied with their BMI (self-evaluation and dreams overlap).
<bold>Conclusions:</bold> The examined women do not have skills to properly assess their BMI, which, in turn, can lead to eating disorders. BMI evaluation should not be based solely on information obtained in young women's BMI self-evaluation. Education is necessary for continuous monitoring and correcting the body's dimensions.
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”.