Prevalence of Obesity and Perceptions of Body Weight among University Students: Evidence from Jordan

Hani J. Hamad


This study was conducted to investigate the effect of measure the prevalence of obesity among university population in Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) University, Northern Jordan. A cross-sectional survey of (370) university male students were recruited from different majors and academic years. They were asked to answer questions concerning ; perception of their body weight and weight changes after leaving home; Participants’ desire to reduce their body weight; the reasons that drive this desire and means used for weight reduction. Weights, heights and body mass index (BMI) were measured. The prevalence of the BMI categories in the sample were: 50% of the study sample is overweight making up the majority, participants with a normal BMI are 28%, 11.1% are underweight and 11% of participants suffer from obesity. Regarding to the participants’ perception of their body weight and weight changes, the study results showed that 74.8% of the students in the study sample are in the normal or overweight categories, 22% are underweight and 3% are obese. The extent of weight change due to living away from home was also reported, where 50% confirmed a slight loss in their weight, 5% had a significant increase and 12% experienced no changes in their body weight. 67% of the total participants had a desire to lose weight where the rest of the 33% had no desire to lose weight. In conclusion, overweight and obesity do exist in the university students and this maybe a reflection of the lifestyle; dietary habits and pattern of living in university. Further research is needed to investigate the dietary habits and lifestyle behaviors of the university students.

Keywords: Obesity, Overweight, Perceptions of body weight, University students, JUST University, Jordan

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