Body Perception among College Students and the Relation to Personal Characteristics and Health Lifestyle Behaviors
Keywords:body perception college students
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. School of Allied Medical Professions Honors Theses; 2009
ABSTRACT Purpose: The main purpose of this study was to see if the accuracy of body perception among college students related to personal characteristics and health lifestyle behaviors. Methods: This study was a retrospective, cross-sectional design. The sample population came from the 2003-2005 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA). Data files were requested for use from the ACHA-NCHA data manager. The information was imported to the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version 17.0) for analysis. Percentages, means, and standard deviations were used to describe the sample. Crosstabs with Chi Square analysis were used to test for differences in weight classification, race, gender, and accuracy of perceived body weight. ANOVAs were used to determine if there was a difference in physical activity and diet based upon accuracy of body perception. Results: Results showed significant differences in the relationships between perceived body image and actual BMI based upon gender and race. There were also differences in physical activity and dietary habits based upon accuracy of body perception. Conclusions: College students in the United States have varying perceptions of their body images. Gender differences exist between perceived body weight and actual body weight. Females are more likely to overestimate their weight, while males tend to underestimate their actual weight. Racial differences were also found in accuracy of body perception. Furthermore, differences exist in diet and exercise habits among the different categories of body perception accuracy.
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