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The transition into university life is usually coupled with a combination of stressors, which can have a negative impact on body image satisfaction, physical and mental wellbeing particularly among females. Body image is a multidimensional concept including psychological, social, and lifestyle factors. There is a scarcity of data concerning body image determinants among Lebanese university students. Therefore, the present study has been conducted aiming at investigating the prevalence of body image concern and its associated determinants among female university students. Through a cross-sectional survey, a sample of 465 females recruited from 3 campuses of Beirut Arab University located in Beirut, Chouf and North Lebanon. Data were collected using an interview questionnaire to assess various sociodemographic, lifestyle, and dietary factors. Anthropometric indicators included body mass index and waist circumference. The existence of body image concern was evaluated using the body shape questionnaire (BSQ16). Analysis of data has shown that 47.8% of the studied sample had body image concerns including 25.4%, 14.8%, and 8.2% with mild, moderate and marked body image concerns respectively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that being overweight or obese adopting dieting practices and studying a health-related major were significantly associated with body image concerns. The present data had shown a relatively alarming prevalence of body image concern that should be targeted and modified. More importantly, the present results pinpointed towards the role of overweight/ obesity in raising the body image concerns. The study findings call for tailoring culture-specific intervention programs which enable students to improve their self-acceptance and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Germine El Kassas works as an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Coordinator of Nutrition and Dietetic Department, Faculty of Health Sciences at Beirut Arab University. She has been graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University. She earned her Masters and PhD in public health majoring nutrition from Alexandria University, Egypt. Besides her academic work at the University of Alexandria, she worked as a nutrition consultant in a number of major hospitals and specialized centers in Alexandria for about 10 years.
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