Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: Eating disorders (EDs) can lead to life‑threatening nutritional deficiencies whereas 
self‑esteem influences interpersonal relationships and academic performance. Excessive concerns 
about body image resulting in body dissatisfaction not only affect psychological well‑being but also 
predisposes to disordered eating behaviors. The objective of this study is to assess the eating 
behavior and level of self‑esteem, their relationship with body image perception and also identify 
factors associated with them among undergraduate female college students.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross‑sectional study was conducted among 180 female 
undergraduate students of University of Delhi. Sociodemographic characteristics and anthropometric 
measurements were recorded. Eating Attitude Test‑26, Rosenberg Self‑esteem Scale, Contour 
Drawing Rating Scale and Body Shape Questionnaire 34 were used to assess eating behavior, 
self‑esteem, body image dissatisfaction and body shape concerns, respectively. Both descriptive 
and inferential statistics were used and binary logistic regression was applied to identify the factors 
determining high risk eating behavior and low self‑esteem.
RESULTS: In this study, 27.8% of the study participants were overweight or obese, 30.6% had body 
shape concerns and 76.7% had body image dissatisfaction. Significant proportion (13.9%) of the 
participants was identified as high risk for the development of EDs and having low self‑esteem (12.8%). 
Body shape concern and family influences were significant predictors of high risk eating behavior 
whereas type of college and family influences significantly predicted low self‑esteem.
CONCLUSIONS: The study concluded that factors such as nutritional status, family influences, type 
of college and body shape concerns lead to high risk eating behavior and low self‑esteem. These 
findings will help in creating awareness on importance of concept of positive body image, healthy 
weight control behaviors and in developing future interventions.


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