Body Weight Perception and Weight Loss Practices among Private College Students in Kelantan State, Malaysia

  • Badrin, Salziyan (Department of Family Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia) ;
  • Daud, Norwati (Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin) ;
  • Ismail, Shaiful Bahari (Department of Family Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
  • Received : 2017.11.20
  • Accepted : 2017.12.20
  • Published : 2018.11.20


Background: Body image is associated with the perception of people on themselves. Influencing factors are generated internally and/or externally. The most common issue pertaining to body image is body weight and weight loss. This study aimed to determine the association between body weight perception and weight loss practices among college students. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 297 college students from private nursing colleges in the state of Kelantan, Malaysia. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess sociodemographic characteristics, body weight perception, and weight loss methods. Weight and height were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated based on weight and height measurement. The World Health Organization BMI cutoffs were applied in the study. Results: More than half (54.2%) of college students perceived their weight correctly as per actual measured BMI. A total of 51.5% of participants had tried various methods to reduce their weight. Body weight perception is associated with weight loss practices (odds ratio, 0.31; 95% confidence interval, 0.19-0.50; P<0.001) adjusted for sex, marital status, and status of having obese family members. Those who had correct body weight perception were less likely to engage in weight loss practice. Food intake restriction (42.4%) is the most popular weight reduction method among students in nursing colleges. Over a quarter of the participants chose physical exercise (25.3%) to reduce their weight, and a small number engaged in unhealthy weight loss practices. Conclusion: Body weight perception is an important factor that influences the practice to reduce weight especially among young adult group and college students.


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