Background. Body image dissatisfaction (BID) is common in young people due to the social pressure to have slim bodies, but it is more often in obese youngster. Although BID might be related to the psychological well-being, body mass index (BMI) and lifestyle, available evidence is mainly in women and it is necessary to analyze these associations by sex and BMI classification.
Purpose. This study aims to investigate the relationship between BID, body fat percentage, psychological well-being and lifestyles, as relates to gender and BMI classification.
Design / methodology / approach. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 3,715 students from a public university in Veracruz, Mexico. Age median was 18.7 years, 54% were women. Body Shape Questionnaire, Ryff Psychological Well-Being Scale, Healthy Lifestyle Scale for University Students and anthropometry were administered.
Findings. Every group, with exception of the underweight participants, showed positive correlations between BID and body fat percentage, as well as negative correlations between BID and psychological well-being. The variable with the greatest influence on BID in normal weight and overweight groups was body fat percentage, while in obesity group was psychological well-being.
Conclusions. The relationship between psychological well-being and BID, reveal that is necessary not to limit interventions to nutritional aspect. Rather, one can include main aspects of mental health that might precede, accompany or continue the BID.
Keywords: Body image dissatisfaction, Psychological well-being, Lifestyles, Body fat percentage, University students