Why do slim women consider themselves too heavy? A characterization of adult women considering their body weight as too heavy




The purpose of this study was to characterize women who, in spite of a low body mass index (BMI), considered themselves too heavy.


Of 11,905 women (27–38 years of age), we focused on 2,443 nonpregnant women with a low BMI (18.5–21.0 kg/m2), who considered their weight acceptable or too heavy. Participants completed a comprehensive questionnaire. By multiple logistic regression we examined associations between lifestyle and health variables and the risk of considering own body weight too heavy.


Approximately 10 % considered their body weight too heavy. Risk factors included early severe life events, young age at start of risky lifestyle behaviors, weight fluctuation, self-reported lifetime history of eating disorders, perception of too heavy workload, and poor physical form and self-rated health. Body dissatisfaction decreased with increasing age.


Our results indicate that body dissatisfaction is established in childhood and adolescence. It is unknown if this body dissatisfaction influences the life of the women, but it might influence the values they pass on to their children. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 35: 275–285, 2004.