How do I look? Body image perceptions among university students from England and Denmark

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 Feb;7(2):583-95. doi: 10.3390/ijerph7020583. Epub 2010 Feb 21.


This study examined differences in body image perception between university students in two European countries, United Kingdom and Denmark. A total of 816 British and 548 Danish university students participated in a cross-sectional survey. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information, body image perception (as "too thin", "just right" or "too fat"), and the association of related factors with body image perception (nutrition behaviour, social support, perceived stressors and quality of life). The proportions of students who perceived themselves as "too thin", "just right", or "too fat" were 8.6%, 37.7%, and 53.7% respectively. Multi-factorial logistic regression analysis showed that students who perceived themselves as "too fat" were more likely to be from the British university, to be females, to be older than 30 years, to report stress due to their financial situation and were less likely to have a high quality of life. The findings highlight the need for interventions with focus on healthy food choices whilst acknowledging financial stressors and quality of life.

Keywords: body image perception; gender; nutrition; quality of life; student health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Denmark
  • England
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Students / psychology*
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult