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BMC Public Health. 2018 Jul 3;18(1):814. doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5738-5.

Relationship between body image and weight status in east Asian countries: comparison between South Korea and Taiwan.

Author information

1
Department of Healthcare Management, Eulji University, Seongnam, Korea.
2
Global Health Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
3
Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine and Catholic Institute for Healthcare Management, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea.
4
Department of Social Welfare, Seoul Women's University, Inmoonsawhoi-Kwan Bldg., 621 Hwarangno, Kongneung 2dong, Nowon, Seoul, Korea.
5
Department of Nursing Science, Sungshin University, Seoul, Korea.
6
Department of Social Welfare, Seoul Women's University, Inmoonsawhoi-Kwan Bldg., 621 Hwarangno, Kongneung 2dong, Nowon, Seoul, Korea. jskim@swu.ac.kr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There are many studies examining the relationship between body image and weight status that compare Western and Asian countries. One limitation of these past studies was assuming that all Asian countries are a homogeneous group. To fill the gap in the literature, this study examined the relationship between body image and weight status between participants from two Asian countries.

METHODS:

This study utilized data from the 2010 module of the East Asian Social Survey from South Korea (nā€‰=ā€‰1576) and Taiwan (nā€‰=ā€‰2199), which contained questions related to body image. Body image was originally measured using a five-point Likert-type question, which was collapsed into three categories for the analysis. Weight status was derived from body mass index scores, which were calculated using self-reported weight and height. A set of multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to investigate the relationship between body image and weight status, stratified by country.

RESULTS:

A significant relationship between body image and weight status after controlling for relevant covariates was reaffirmed in this study in the South Korean and Taiwanese. Results indicated that the relationship between body image and weight status of the Taiwanese sample was similar to the relationship in the South Korean sample. However, the results from a further analysis showed that the strength of the relationship across the two Asian countries appeared to be different.

CONCLUSIONS:

The weight over-perception was more evident in South Korea than in Taiwan. Females were more vulnerable to societal pressures for thinness and the misperception of the ideal body than males. Interventions to improve distorted body image perception were needed in both countries.

KEYWORDS:

Body image; Comparative study; East Asian countries; Weight status

PMID:
29970058
PMCID:
PMC6029392
DOI:
10.1186/s12889-018-5738-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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