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Title: Preference for thinness in Singapore - A newly industrialised society
Authors: Wang, M.C.
Ho, T.F. 
Anderson, J.N.
Sabry, Z.I.
Keywords: Body image
Preference for thinness
Issue Date: Aug-1999
Citation: Wang, M.C., Ho, T.F., Anderson, J.N., Sabry, Z.I. (1999-08). Preference for thinness in Singapore - A newly industrialised society. Singapore Medical Journal 40 (8) : 502-507. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Background/Aims: A cultural preference for thinness has been implicated in the development of eating disorders in Western, post-industrialised societies. In transitional societies like Singapore, a shift in expectations of ideal body size (toward thinness) may lead to an increase in eating disorders. This study investigated perceptions about body size and shape in over 200 youths living in Singapore, and the influences of adiposity, gender, Westernisation and parents' education. Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather social and cultural information from 137 males and 143 females, aged 17-22 years. It included questions relating to eating behaviour and body satisfaction from which a "preference for thinness score" was derived. Westernisation was indicated by language spoken at home. Adiposity was measured by triceps skinfold and body mass index. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to assess the associations of adiposity, mother's education, father's education, and language spoken at home with the preference for thinness score. Results: Dissatisfaction with body size and shape increased with tertile of adiposity among females, and thoughts about dieting and becoming thinner were present even among underweight girls. Unlike the females, the highest proportion of males satisfied with their body size and shape, was associated with the middle tertile of BMI. Speaking English at home, but not parents' education, was positively associated with body dissatisfaction after controlling for BMI. Conclusion: Chinese Singaporean female youths have a preference for thinness as an ideal body size. The epidemiology of eating disorders in Singapore and other newly industrialised societies warrants further investigation.
Source Title: Singapore Medical Journal
ISSN: 00375675
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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