Mal J Nutr 22(3): 389 -401, 2016

Association Between Body Image Dissatisfaction and Body Mass Index, Eating Habits and Weight Control Practices among Mauritian Adolescents
Gitika Balluck1, Bibi Zaynab Toorabally1* & Muzzammil Hosenally2


ABSTRACT

Introduction: Adolescence is a nutritionally vulnerable period owing to rapid physical and psychological changes. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of body image dissatisfaction and its association with body mass index (BMI), eating habits and weight control practices among Mauritian adolescents.
Methods: A total of 200 adolescents aged 14-17 years who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were conveniently recruited from public places. Height and weight measurements were taken to determine BMI. The respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire on demographics, eating behaviour, Figure Rating (Stunkard Scale with silhouettes 1 to 9 indicating from the most lean to the most heavy figure), and attempts to manage weight.
Results: Overall, 73.5% of respondents had normal BMI, with more males being overweight (12.5%) and obese (3.1%) than females. Body image dissatisfaction (BID) was higher among the males (76.0%) while BMI showed a significant influence on the body image of both genders. Males perceived silhouette 4 as an ideal body figure while females desired silhouette 3. Previous dieting was reported by all categories of body weight. Adolescents with satisfied body image tended to eat more fruits and vegetable. Adolescents with BID showed a higher likelihood of skipping breakfast (41.6%) and dinner (20.8%) and had a higher snacking frequency (72.0%). Almost all (96.1%) consumed fast food.
Conclusion: BID appears to be a matter of concern among Mauritian adolescents. The findings emphasise the need for nutrition education programs promoting healthy weight management among adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescents, body image, BMI, eating habits, weight control

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