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Body weight perception and weight loss practices among a group of Sri Lankan university students

Authors:

Karthikesu Karthijekan ,

Eastern University, LK
About Karthikesu
Department of Supplementary Health Sciences, Faculty of Health-Care Sciences
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Ranil Jayawardena,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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Arulpragasam Anthony Angela,

Eastern University, Sri Lanka, LK
About Arulpragasam Anthony
Department of Supplementary Health Sciences, Faculty of Health-Care Sciences
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Kanagasingam Arulnithy

Teaching Hospital, Batticaloa, LK
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Abstract

Background:

The increasing trends in overweight and obesity is a public health issue globally. Self-perception of a person’s weight may influence the action taken by the individual in his/her weight management.

 

Objective:

The present study aims to evaluate the association between self-perception of body weight, weight management practices and calculated body mass index (BMI) among a group of Sri Lankan university students.

 

Method:

A sample of 384 students was selected from the Eastern University, Sri Lanka by using a systematic sampling technique. A self-administered questionnaire assessed the socio-demographic characters, weight management practices and perception of existing body weight. Weight, height and waist circumference (WC) were measured and compared with Asian anthropometric cut-offs for BMI and WC. Chi-squire test was used to find out the association between selected variables and calculated BMI.

 

Results:

The response rate was 87.5%. Out of 336 participants, the percentages of those overweight, obese and underweight were 35.2%, 10.7% and 8.6% respectively. Two- thirds of overweight males and a third of overweight females considered themselves as ‘about right weight’ or ‘underweight’. In the obese subjects, 5.3% and 23.5% men and women respectively perceived themselves as ‘about right weight’. Over two thirds of all obese subjects perceived themselves as being overweight. Of those who perceived themselves as overweight or very overweight, 71.2% tried to lose their weight. In the perceived ‘normal weight category, 6.4% tried to lose weight.

 

Conclusions:

Body weight misperception was common among overweight and obese students. Among the perceived overweight or very overweight categories, two thirds attempted to lose their body weight. This study highlights the importance of self-awareness of body weight in maintaining a healthy body weight.
How to Cite: Karthijekan, K., Jayawardena, R., Angela, A.A. and Arulnithy, K., 2018. Body weight perception and weight loss practices among a group of Sri Lankan university students. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, 55(2), pp.36–41. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjms.v55i2.4937
Published on 31 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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