Aim: This study aimed to assess weight control behaviors and their relationship with body weight and image perceptions among female university students.
Subject and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among female students. The study included 420 female students aged 17–27 years using a convenient sample. Students were invited from all faculties. The data collection tools included a questionnaire, body image perceptions scale, and measurement scale for weight and height.
Results: Of the participants, 154 (36.9%) female students (95% CI 32–41%) had risky eating behaviors and reported a significant level of concern about diet and weight. In general, most of the study sample were dissatisfied with their bodies; in particular, 55.7% of participants were suffering from negative body image, while 24.5% showed a positive body image. Approximately one-third (31.8%) of underweight university students participated in risky eating behavior compared to 36.3% and 44.4% in normal-weight and overweight and obese groups, respectively. The logistic regression analysis revealed that weight control behaviors were mainly associated with the perception of body image.
Conclusion: The results showed a high level of concern about food and weight by the female students. Additionally, it showed that they are prone to risky eating behaviors. Therefore, interventions are needed to promote healthy eating behaviors and body image among university students.