Body Mass Index and Body Image Anxiety in a Sample of Undergraduate Students

Keywords: physical appearance, health, well-being, physical education


The study purpose is to estimate in which range the body image dissatisfaction affects the young women in our research group and to determine how objective these perceptions are. The main question this research raises is if the body image acceptance, which is a subjective variable is in a significant correlation with BMI as an objective parameter?  Methods. This cross-sectional study was undertaken on a sample of 160 white female first-year undergraduate students, homogenous, with a mean age of 20,3 years (SD = 0,68), attending physical education classes. BMI and BDI were calculated on anthropometrical measurements and questionnaires. Results: 79 % of the questioned girls have difficulties in accepting their body image, even 87,7% of the subjects have been in normal and underweight category. A strong and significant correlation between BMI and BDI was found r=64 (p< .0005). 41% of body dissatisfaction index is determined by body mass index and subsequent by weight and fat deposits. Both these parameters could be improved through physical education means and a healthy lifestyle. Conclusions: Summarizing the study results is acceptable to consider BMI values as useful predictors of body dissatisfaction risk among young female. Through physical education they gain confidence and positive body awareness alleviating anxiety related to physical appearance. 


Download data is not yet available.

| Abstract views: 277 | PDF Downloads: 184 |

Author Biography

Cristiana Lucretia Pop, Physical Education and Sport Department, Bucharest University of Economic Studies; 140 Constantin Noica Street, sector 6, Bucharest, POB 060057, Romania


Tiggemann M. Sociocultural Perspectives on Human Appearance and Body Image. In Body Image. New York: The Guilford Press; 2011. P.12-19.

Flores-Cornejo F, Kamego-Tome M, Zapata-Pachas MA, Alvarado GF. Association between body image dissatisfaction and depressive symptoms in adolescents. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria, 2017;39:316–22. doi:10.1590/1516-4446-2016-1947.

Hogan MG, Strasburger VC. Body Image, Eating Disorders, and the Media. Adolesc Med, 2008;19:521–546.

Delerm P. Telefonul mobil. In Garcin J (Ed.), Noile mitologii, Bucuresti: Art Pub.; 2009. P. 45.

Furham, A., Badmin, N., Sneade, I. (2002). Body Image Dissatisfaction: Gender Differences in Eating Attitudes, Self-esteem, and reasons for exercise. The Journal of Psyhology, 136, 581-596.

Ali SM, Lindstrom M. Socioeconomic, psychosocial, behavioural, and psychological determinants of BMI among young women: differing patterns for underweight and overweight /obesity. Eur J Public Health, 2006;16 (3): 324-330

Andersen LB. Physical activity in adolescents. Jornal de Pediatria, 2009;85(4): 281-283.

Reel J, Greenleaf C, Baker WK, Aragon S, Bishop D, Cachaper Handwerk P, Hattie J. Relation of body concerns and exercise behavior. A meta-analysis. Psyhological Reports, 2007;101:927-942.

Thompson MA, Gray JJ. Development and validation of a New Body Image Assessment Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 1991;64:258–269.

Grao-Cruces A, Nuviala A, Fernández-Martínez A, Pérez-Turpin A. Association of physical self-concept with physical activity, life satisfaction and. Mediterranean diet in adolescents. Kinesiology, 2014;46(1):3-11.

Markey CN, Markey PM. Correlates of Young Women’s Interest in Obtaining Cosmetic Surgery. Sex Roles, 2009;61:158–166.

Pop CL. Overweight - Cultural and Educational Aspects. Revista Românească pentru Educaţie Multidimensională, 2015;7(2):133-140.

Pop CL. Self - Esteem and Body Image Perception in a Sample of University Students. Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 2016;16: 31-44. doi:10.14689/ejer.2016.64.2

Jaworowska A, Bazylak B. An outbreak of body weight dissatisfaction associated with self-perceived BMI and dieting among female pharmacy students. Biomed Pharmacother, 2009;63 (9): 679–692.

Costa CL, de Vasconcelos A. Influence of socioeconomic, behavioral and nutritional factors on dissatisfaction with body image among female university students in Florianopolis, SC. Rev Bras Epidemiol, 2010;13 (4):665–676.

Khan AN, Khalid S, Khan H, Jabeen M. Impact of today’s media on university student’s body image in Pakistan: a conservative, developing country’s perspective. BMC Public Health, 2011;11:379-382.

As-Sa’edi E, Sheerah S, Al-Ayoubi R, Al-Jehani A, Tajaddin W, Habeeb H. Body image dissatisfaction: Prevalence and relation to body mass index among female medical students in Taibah University. Journal of Taibah Univ. Medical Sciences, 2011;8 (2): 126-133.

Daniali S, Azadbakht L, Mostafavi F. Relationship between body satisfaction with self esteem and unhealthy body weight management. J Educ Health Promot. 2013;31(2):29-32.

Poobalan AS, Aucott LS, Precious E, Crombie IK, Smith WC. Weight loss interventions in young people (18 to 25 year olds): A systematic review. Obes Rev. 2010;11:580–92.

Martin Ginis KA, Eng JJ, Arbour KP, Hartman JW, Phillips SM. Mind over muscle? Sex differences in the relationship between body image change and subjective and objective physical changes following a 12-week strength-training program. Body Image: An International Journal of Research, 2005;2:363–372.

Sonstroem RJ. The physical self-system: A mediator of exercise and self-esteem. In: KR Fox (Ed.), The physical self: From motivation to well-being. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 1997. P. 3–26.

Martin Ginis K, Bassett R. Exercise and Changes in Body Image, in Body Image. New York: The Guilford Press; 2011.

Williams PA, Cash TF. The effects of a circuit weight training program on the body images of college students. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2001;30:75–82.

Campbell A, Hausenblas HA. Effects of exercise interventions on body image: A meta-analysis. Journal of Health Psychology, 2009;14:780–793.
How to Cite
Pop CL. Body Mass Index and Body Image Anxiety in a Sample of Undergraduate Students. Physical education of students. 2018;22(2):77-2.