Body Image Concern and its Correlates among Male and Female Undergraduate Students at Assuit University in Egypt

  •  Walid El Ansari    
  •  Emily Dibba    
  •  Shokria Labeeb    
  •  Christiane Stock    


Introduction: This cross-sectional study examined variables associated with body image concern (BIC) and whether these associations differed between female and male students in Egypt. During the period 2009-2010, 3271 undergraduate students (1663 females, 1504 males) at Assuit University in Egypt completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed BIC and other socio-demographic and health related variables.

Methods: Based on Cooper et al.’s Body Shape Questionnaire the authors categorized BIC into ‘no BIC’; ‘mild BIC’; and ‘moderate/marked BIC’. Multifactorial linear regression analysis examined the association between BIC and BMI, body image perception, lifestyle (physical activity, nutrition, smoking) and mental well-being variables (quality of life, finances-related stress, perceived stress, perceived health, depressive symptoms).

Results: About 40% of the female students and 25.6% of male students reported having mild to marked BIC. The correlates of BIC did not exhibit striking differences between male and female students. For both genders, BIC was positively associated with BMI, body image perception as being too fat and with depressive symptoms. Self-rated health was inversely associated with BIC.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that health promoting strategies should address the co-occurrence of depressive symptoms and BIC, and should furthermore pay due attention to higher prevalence of BIC among female students.

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