Gender Differences in Body Mass Index, Underweight, Overweight and Obesity among University Students

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume II, Issue XII, December 2018 | ISSN 2454–6186

Gender Differences in Body Mass Index, Underweight, Overweight and Obesity among University Students

K, Fatehah1, M.Y. Kamal2, Z.M. Lukman3, R. Normala4 & C. Azlini5

1,2,3,4,5Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu Malaysia.

Abstract: Health is a major public issue where body mass index is a particularly important aspect in youth for a developing state like Terengganu, Malaysia. The body mass index or BMI can be used as an indicator for the health status of a population. The aim of the research is to identify the average BMI among university students in Terengganu by gender. Data are collected by 523 of respondents from Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin Students’ (UniSZA) consisting of 117 males and 406 females from July to August 2018 using questionnaires. The data is analyzed separately in this study among male and female respondents in the university. The results show that 12% of female respondents have been suffering from chronic energy deficiency, underweight range, or under nutrition and considered as a common phenomenon in Terengganu especially for the female population.

Keywords –Body Mass Index, Underweight, Overweight, Obesity, University Students, Gender, Malaysia


The awareness about the consequences of overweight and obesity mostly among university students are well known. Therefore, they are likely to set their ideal body weight set point through cognitive signals [1]. Unfortunately, students who are exposed to media images that depict the thin-ideal body has been linked to young women’s dissatisfaction with their own bodies [2]. Additionally, being a university student has a strong impact on a person’s lifestyle and often lead to unhealthy eating habits [3]. Poor eating habits are a significant concern among the young adults who are making transition from secondary life into university life [4]. The fifth leading risk of global deaths is overweight and obesity, worldwide, with obesity increasing more since 1980. More than 1.4 billion adults of 20 years old and older were overweight in 2008. In addition, an obese (BMI>30 kg/m2) person, most will get hypertension, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, gallbladder disease and various types of cancer [5]. One indicator that can be used to indirectly certify the health status of respondents is body mass index which helps to identify their body size[6]. At the same time, monitor planning interference help to prevent disease.

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