Body weight perception among Igbo people in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

  • E C Okeke Department of Home Science, Nutrition and Dietetics University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Nigeria
  • G N Ibeh
  • H N Ene-Obong
Keywords: Body weight, Body mass index, Igbo, Nigeria.


This study was carried out to determine the body weight perception of Igbo people in University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) community. The study evaluated the body weight perception among age groups and sex categories of UNN staff and students. It examined the relationship between perception of body weight among the Igbo in UNN community and actual weight status (Body Mass Index). A cross-sectional survey was conducted to achieve the objectives of the study using 390 students and 80 members of staff. Five hundred validated questionnaires were used to obtain information on their attitude towards their weight status and perception. The questionnaire was randomly distributed and 470 were returned completed. The SPSS computer package was used to analyse the data. The results revealed a non-significant difference between age and body weight perception [P> 0.05]. This showed that the subjects appreciated their body weight. There was no significant difference between gender and body weight perception. Forty nine percent (49.1%) of the subjects had normal body mass index (BMI). When disaggregated, 205 (52.6%) students and 26 (32.5%) staff members had normal BMI, respectively. The students were more underweight and obese than the staff. There was a significant difference between socio-economic status, BMI and body weight perception (X2 = 22.94, p <0.05). Perception of body weight did not show the actual weight of the respondents. The study showed that majority (85.3%) of the subjects surveyed, perceived themselves as normal and 12.3% of the subjects who were obese perceived themselves as normal. Some students (52.6%) and staff (32.5%), who were normal perceived themselves as overweight (15.2%, 3.2%) and obese (18.8%, 20.0%,), respectively. The scientific method of determining body weight should be used rather than mere perception.

Keywords: Body weight, Body mass index, Igbo, Nigeria.

Agro-Science Vol. 5 (2) 2006: pp. 17-24

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1119-7455