Development of a new body image assessment scale in urban Cameroon: an anthropological approach

Ethn Dis. 2011 Summer;21(3):288-93.


Objective: Develop and validate body image scales (BIS) presenting real human bodies adapted to the macroscopic phenotype of urban Cameroonian populations.

Design: Quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Setting: Yaoundé, capital city of Cameroon.

Participants: Four samples with balanced sex-ratio: the first (n=16) aged 18 to 65 years (qualitative study), the second (n=30) aged 25 to 40 years (photo database), the third (n=47) and fourth (n=181), > or =18 years (validation study).

Main outcome measure: Construct validity, test retest reliability, concurrent and convergent validity of BIS.

Results: Body image scales present six Cameroonians of each sex arranged according to main body mass index (BMI) categories: underweight (<18.5 kg/m2), normal (18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2), obesity class I (30-34.9 kg/m2), obesity class II (35-39.9 kg/m2), and obesity class III (> or =40 kg/m2). Test-retest reliability correlations for current body size (CBS), desired body size and current desirable discrepancy (body self-satisfaction index) on BIS were never below .90. Plus, for the concurrent validity, we observed a significant correlation (r=0.67, P<.01) between measured BMI and CBS. Finally, the convergent validity between BIS and a female African American silhouettes scale, for different dimensions of body size perceptions, is acceptable.

Conclusions: Body image scales are adapted to the phenotypic characteristics of urban Cameroonian populations. They are reliable and valid to assess body size perceptions and culturally adapted to the Cameroonian context.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry / instrumentation*
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cameroon
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Overweight / ethnology*
  • Overweight / psychology*
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Population