Perceived and Ideal Body Image in Young Women in South Western Saudi Arabia

J Obes. 2015:2015:697163. doi: 10.1155/2015/697163. Epub 2015 Nov 11.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate perceived and ideal body image (BI) and associated factors among female university students in Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This cross-sectional study included 663 university female students. Anthropometric measurements including weight, height, BMI, and BI perception (the 9-figure silhouette) were obtained. Descriptive and logistic regression analysis were conducted.

Results: An agreement between actual, perceived, and ideal BI was found in 23% of the participants. Behavioral (activity levels), social (presence of obese parents and fathers' level of education), and economic factors (households' monthly income, number of cars in the household, and kind of residence) were positively and significantly associated with the desire to be thinner. Similarly, socioeconomic associations (number of sisters and number of cars in the household) correlated positively and significantly with the desire to be heavier.

Conclusions: The whole family should rather be considered in interventions related to appearance concerns and BI discrepancies. Furthermore, campaigns targeting improvement of adolescents' physical self-image should be a major priority of the public health sector.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / ethnology
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Family Characteristics
  • Fathers / education
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Self Concept*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Universities
  • Young Adult