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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

On-line version ISSN 2174-5145Print version ISSN 2173-1292


CATALA-OLTRA, Lluís  and  TORMO-SANTAMARIA, Maria. University students' attitudes towards their own bodies: University of Alicante, 2003 and 2018. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2021, vol.25, n.1, pp.29-38.  Epub Nov 08, 2021. ISSN 2174-5145.


The post-crisis period may have had an impact on the body image of university students, after decades of progressive transformation in patterns of body aesthetics in Western countries. The objective of this study is to know the aesthetic practices of the students of the University of Alicante, their body self-perception and to compare the difference in the results of two surveys (2018 and 2003), and analyse if there are any differences according to sex and BMI.

Material and Methods:

This is a descriptive repeated cross-sectional study that uses a survey and quota sampling (by sex and field of study). The units of analysis are the University of Alicante's bachelor's and master's degree students enrolled during the 2017/2018 school year (in 2003 these were students of the first and second cycles enrolled in the school year 2002/2003). Universe: 23,827 students in 2017 (28,483 in 2003). Sample size: 402 in 2017 and 375 in 2003.


78.1% were satisfied with their own body (compared to 70% in 2003). 48.1% thought their weight was fine as it is (42.4% in 2003). In relation to the BMI, 40% have an unadjusted attitude towards reality, in 2003 this figure exceeded 50%.


Students in 2018 showed of more satisfaction with their bodies and seemed to perceive less pressure to be thin compared to 2003. Also, there is an adjustment between genders.

Keywords : Body Image; Body Mass Index; Ideal Body Weight; Body Dissatisfaction; Students; Universities; Surgery, Plastic; Esthetics; Beauty.

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