Journal of Community Health

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 159–168

Body Mass Index and perceived weight status in young adults


  • John P. Sciacca
    • Dept. of HPERF&N, School of Health ProfessionsNorthern Arizona University
  • Christopher L. Melby
  • Gerald C. Hyner
  • Amy C. Brown
  • Paul L. Femea

DOI: 10.1007/BF01323974

Cite this article as:
Sciacca, J.P., Melby, C.L., Hyner, G.C. et al. J Community Health (1991) 16: 159. doi:10.1007/BF01323974


Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height and weight for 1,123 university students who returned a questionnaire mailed to a 10 percent random sample of the entire undergraduate population of a large midwestern university. Seventeen percent of the females and 20 percent of the males were determined to be in excess of normal BMI standards. However, significantly more women (40%) considered themselves overweight in comparison to men (24%). Also, significantly more women (53%) than men (20%) reported experiencing discomfort due to excessive weight. Inaccurate perceptions of body image are common among individuals with eating disorders. There is a higher incidence of eating disorders among college-age women than among their male peers. A distorted body image as reflected by perceived overweight may serve as a marker for individuals at risk for eating disorders.

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1991