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Body Mass Index: knowledge, practice and health evaluation

Introduction: The health related expenses whether direct or indirect for the overweight individuals, the decrease of the quality of personal and social life of the obese individuals make this subject a public health one. Specialized physicians, nutritionists, fitness trainers, psychologists, anthropologists etc. agree that both the explanations and the interventions are multidisciplinary and also include a series of factors.

Objective: The determining of the socio-demographical characteristics of the population that holds a high risk for overweight and obesity together with the evaluation of certain knowledge and beliefs related to Body Mass Index (BMI), state of health and physical activity. To examine the association between perceived overweight status and weight control, discrepancies between perceived and measured weight status.

Method: This article is based on project ,,Identitary values of the contemporary Romanian family in the framework of the globalization. An anthropological approach”, financially supported by European Social Fund (ESF) Contract POSDRU/89/1.5/S/59758/2011-2013. The sample by 862 subjects, not representative for the entire country, was random selected, aged 18-74 years, distributed relatively equal by environment, gender and age group. We have used an omnibus questionnaire of 96 items focusing on family functioning: economical, educational, cohesion-solidarity and sexual-reproductive. The subjects have also been measured and weighted. In this article we shall make reference to 4 items on BMI, physical activities, state of health. Statistical analysis (Pearson Chi-Square test) have been performed using the statistical programs SPSS. Result: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the sample in Romania is higher in the rural area, for the male individuals of over 35 years of age (p<=0.001). 52.4% (N=452) have stated they do not know what is the right weight according to their height. The others had a more accurate evaluation of the weight they should have (p=0.000); The least accurate evaluations of the ideal weight have been done by the subjects in the rural area (30.8% vs. 69.2%; p=0.009). The personal weight control is smaller in the rural area among the male subjects (p=0.000). The numerical level of people that regards themselves as being ,,active” and ,,very active” is larger in the rural area (p=0.000). Over half the subjects perceive their state of health as least good, most of them being in the rural area, of female gender and of an age of > 35 years. Overweight and obese men are not aware of their state of health being under the optimal level (p<=0.008). The body weight control did not correlate with the normal BMI, with the correct estimation regarding the ideal weight but the concern for the weight control has raised according to the educational level (p=0.000).The extent to which the subjects consider themselves as ,,active” and ,,very active” is higher in the rural area (p=0.000).

Conclusion:The target of the educational programmes in Romania should cover especially the population with the following characteristics: originated in the rural area, male gender, over 35. Taking into consideration that in Romania most of the population up to 35 years of age is married and have children, we consider these parents need educational interventions in order not to pass the same unhealthy attitudinal and behavioural patterns related to diet and physical practice to their children

Author(s): Cornelia, Rada

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