Perceived body appearance and eating habits: The voice of young and adult students attending higher education

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This study examined the relationship between social-environmental influences and body image perception. Specifically, the study explored the perceived body appearance among young and older students attending higher education, and their eating experiences, as related to four main social-environmental circles: family, friends, work colleagues, and media. The present study interviewed 30 students (14 men and 16 women) ages 20-40. The findings show that most of the participants were concerned about their appearance, reported on various eating habits rooted on family tradition. Findings revealed differences among gender and age groups regarding, especially regarding sport and dissatisfaction with their own perceived appearance. Although more women reported on healthy eating habits and doing sport, they reported higher dissatisfaction with their body appearance. It was found that in both groups, family habits and their parents’ remarks about bodies had an ongoing effect and significant influence on their body self-perceptions. Further health promotion should be directed in particular to individuals with a perceived negative body image, in order to enhance positive body self-perception, implementing heathy eating habits and engaging higher commitment to sport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-463
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Adults
  • Appearance
  • Body-image perception
  • Habits


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