Background. Overweight and obesity is a serious public health concern that has major consequences on health and quality of life. As of 2006, 64% of adults in Bermuda were overweight or obese. There remains a gap in the literature related to how adult Bermudians perceive their body weight and body image, and if perceptions of being overweight or obese are associated with weight control behaviors.

Purpose. This study was undertaken to develop a better understanding of the perceptions of ideal body weight, level of overweight, body image and weight control behavior in adult Bermudians.

Methodology. This was a cross-sectional observational study of perceptions of ideal body weight, overweight, body image and weight control behavior obtained by a self-administered questionnaire of 462 (207 males, 255 females) adult Bermudians. Items on perceptions of ideal weight and overweight were taken from the United Kingdom Office of National Statistics Omnibus Survey, and perceptions of body image were assessed using the Contour Drawing Rating Scale. Weight control behaviors were assessed using the Weight Control Behavior Scale.

Results. Among participants, 25.5% of men and 24.9% of women had a BMI in the normal range. More men (41.7%) were overweight compared to women (31.2%); while more women (43.9%) were obese, compared to 32.8% of men (p<.05). Normal weight men were more likely (90.4%) to accurately categorize themselves as normal weight when compared to women (84.5%), however, women were more likely to accurately perceive themselves as overweight (92.2%), compared to men (90.2%) (p<.001).

Based on reports of ideal weight, the ideal BMI selected by women (mean BMI= 24.5) was significantly lower than the ideal BMI indicated by men (mean BMI =25.9) (p<.001). The mean perceived ideal body image for men ( mean=5.46) corresponded to a normal body size, while the average ideal body image for women (mean= 4.17) corresponded to an underweight body size, both of which were significant (p<.001).

Significantly more women (79.8%) tried to lose weight in the pass year compared to 54.6% of men [x2 (1, N=443) = 32.14, p<.001]. Among normal weight participants’ who were accurate in categorization of their body weight as normal, significantly more women (58.7%) tried to lose weight in the past year compared to men (14.3%) [%2 (1, N=119)= 18.47, p<.001)].

Independent predictors such as age, gender, education, perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived self-efficacy were significantly associated with ideal-current body weight discrepancy, and weight control behaviors.

Implications for Health Education.The results of this study are important given the current obesity epidemic in Bermuda and worldwide. These findings may provide new information about how adult Bermudians perceive their body weight, overweight, body image and behaviors used to control weight. This study will add to the existing literature regarding weight perceptions and obesity and will provide data that may have important implications in the development of obesity related interventions.


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Naomi Modeste

Second Advisor

Helen Hopp Marshak

Third Advisor

Hildemar Dos Santos

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Body Weight -- ethnology; Weight Perception -- physiology; Body Mass Index; Cross-Sectional Studies; Health Behavior -- Bermuda Islands.



Page Count

xiv; 141

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives