Korean J Community Nutr.  1998 Feb;3(1):21-33.

A Study on Weight Control Attempt and Related Factors among College Female Students

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Nutrition, Seoul Womwn's University, Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

The purpose
of this study was to investigate the weight control attempts and related factors among 220 female college students in Seoul. Factors examined included body image, body satisfaction, interest in weight control, beliefs related to weight control, social norms, social expectations regarding subjects' body size and weight change. Data were analyzed using t-test and chi-square test(at alpha=0.05). The average height and weight of subjects were 160.7 cm, 52.2 kg respectively. BMI and body fat(%) were 20.2 and 25.2%, respectively. One hundred seventy two students(78.2%) had attempted to control their weight, mainly to lose weight, and were categorized as the weight control attempt group. Subjects used diet modification as well as unhealthy method to control weight. 48.2% in the attempt group were underweight or normal weight(by BMI), suggesting that their weight control attempts were was unnecessary. Students in the attempt group described their own size as heavier than those in the no-attempt group(p<0.01) or other girls of their age(p<0.05) ; more dissatisfied with their body size(p<0.01), and showed more interest in weight control(p<0.01). Several differences in beliefs were also noted(p<0.001). The attempt group believed less strongly in the harmful effects or difficulties in weight control and believed more strongly in the advantages of weight control. With respect to social factors, the attempt group perceived that their family and friends wanted them to be smaller than they were(p<0.001), perceived that significant others felt that they should lose weight(p<0.05). These results suggest that educational programs for college female students should start focusing on the harmful effects of excessive dieting and information about desirable weight control methods. Students should be helped to have a correct body image. In addition, educational programs should incorporate strategies to change beliefs regarding weight control, as well as modifying social expectations from significant others.

Keyword

weight control; body image; body satisfaction; beliefs regarding weight control; social norms; social expectations
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