The association between the body mass index of first-year female university students and their weight-related perceptions and practices, psychological health, physical activity and other physical health indicators
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To investigate the association between the weight status of first-year female students (FYFS) and various weight management-related characteristics to identify possible components of a weight management programme for students. Mean (^standard deviation (SD)) body mass index (BMI) of the FYFS was 21.8 ^ 2.6 kg m22 , with 7.2% being underweight, 81.9% normal-weight, 10.0% overweight and 0.8% obese. Underweight, normal-weight and overweight students differed with regard to their perception of their weight (P , 0.001), weight goals (P , 0.001) and previous weight-loss practices (P , 0.001). Mean ^ SD score on the 26-item Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) was 8.5 ^ 9.0 with 8.4% classified as high scorers. Mean ^ SD score on the 34-item Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ) was 87.7 ^ 32.2, with 76.1% classified as low, 11.9% as medium and 11.9% as high scorers. The self-concept questionnaire indicated that 36.7% had a high, 43.9% a medium and 19.4% a low self-concept. Higher BMI correlated with a higher BSQ score (P , 0.001), a lower self-concept (P ¼ 0.029) and a higher EAT-26 score (P , 0.001). Smoking was prevalent amongst 13.1% of students, and 51.2% used vitamin and/or mineral supplements. Students who quitted smoking had higher (P ¼ 0.006) BMI (22.7 ^ 2.9 kg m22 ) than those who never smoked before (21.6 ^ 2.5 kg m22 ).