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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2015, Article ID 697163, 7 pages
Research Article

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

1The PRO-CARE Group, School of Health and Society, Kristianstad University, 291 88 Kristianstad, Sweden
2Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
3Department of Health Sciences, Medical Faculty, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
4Åstrand Laboratory of Work Physiology, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, 114 86 Stockholm, Sweden
5Pediatric Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory, College of Education and Obesity Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

Received 28 July 2015; Revised 19 October 2015; Accepted 25 October 2015

Academic Editor: Bangalore N. Gangagadhar

Copyright © 2015 Atika Khalaf et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.