Is Accurate Perception of Body Image Associated with Appropriate Weight-Control Behavior among Adolescents of the Seychelles

J Obes. 2011;2011:817242. doi: 10.1155/2011/817242. Epub 2011 Mar 24.

Abstract

Background. We examined body image perception and its association with reported weight-control behavior among adolescents in the Seychelles. Methods. We conducted a school-based survey of 1432 students aging 11-17 years in the Seychelles. Perception of body image was assessed using both a closed-ended question (CEQ) and Stunkard's pictorial silhouettes (SPS). Voluntary attempts to change weight were also assessed. Results. A substantial proportion of the overweight students did not consider themselves as overweight (SPS: 24%, CEQ: 34%), and a substantial proportion of the normal-weight students considered themselves as too thin (SPS: 29%, CEQ: 15%). Logistic regression analysis showed that students with an accurate weight perception were more likely to have appropriate weight-control behavior. Conclusions. We found that substantial proportions of students had an inaccurate perception of their weight and that weight perception was associated with weight-control behavior. These findings point to forces that can drive the upwards overweight trends.