Ethnic differences in body image perception in patients with type 2 diabetes

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Ethnic differences in body image perception in patients with type 2 diabetes

Toselli et al., JHND Early View Unknown

Background

The present study compared the prevalence of obesity, fat distribution, body image perception and lifestyle among diabetic African and Albanian immigrants living in Italy, as well as diabetic Italians, aiming to identify health risks and their possible causes.

Methods

The study sample consisted of 200 diabetic subjects living in Italy. A questionnaire regarding socio‐demographic and lifestyle information was administered to participants, and anthropometric measurements and body image perception were assessed. Proper perception of weight status and the degree of dissatisfaction in body image perception were valued.

Results

Italians showed a higher health risk, both with regard to anthropometric characteristics and lifestyle, whereas African immigrants showed a lower one. All of the male groups underestimated their weight and Albanians were the most dissatisfied. Women perceived their current body image as heavier than their desired body image, showing a dissatisfaction toward their weight. Subjects of both sexes belonging to the overweight and obese categories generally underestimated themselves; this was particularly true in obese Africans. People with a higher body mass index were more likely to be dissatisfied than those with a lower one. Body image dissatisfaction increased when people estimated themselves as being overweight. Among lifestyle habits, being an ex‐smoker increased body image dissatisfaction.

Conclusions

The underestimation of weight detected in the present study requires attention. Nevertheless, the high percentage of overweight/obese people, coupled with the higher frequency of people dissatisfied with their high weight, suggests an awareness of the problem that could be more effective for weight loss.

 

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