Correlates of Body Image Perception and Dietary Practices among Urban Adolescents –Experience from Government Schools in Kolkata City

Tanushree Mondal, Ritu Ghosh, Sucharita Maji, Tapobrata Guha Ray


 Background: Body image is an important adolescent issue having bearing on their self-esteem and nutritional status. Both underweight and overweight are prevalent in India coupled with inappropriate dietary behavior such as higher consumption of junk food and lower intake of fruits and vegetables. The study was undertaken to assess body image perception of urban adolescent school students and to identify the factors influencing body image dissatisfaction and dietary behavior among them. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among adolescents aged 11–19 years in two schools of Kolkata. A total of 253 subjects were recruited through multistage sampling and obtained from Classes VI–XII. Data were collected by self-administered questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. Body image was assessed on 5-point Likert scale and intake of fruits vegetables and junk food with a food frequency questionnaire. Results: Out of 253 subjects, 56.1% perceived their body image correctly. Nearly 78% of subjects reported body image dissatisfaction. Perceived body image (AOR 3.7) and female gender (AOR 1.6) were its major correlates. Frequent junk food consumption (AOR 1.149), dissatisfied body image (AOR 1.141), and male gender (AOR 3.765) significantly influenced inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables among the study subjects. Conclusion: Body image concerns were noted across both gender groups with females being more concerned with overweight and males with underweight, but dissatisfaction is more likely to be present among females. Inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables was associated with body image dissatisfaction and frequent consumption of junk food.

Key words: Adolescents, body image dissatisfaction, body image perception, fruits and vegetables

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