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Searching for cultural psyche in body type variance: American vs Japanese body type estimations

Futoshi Kobayashi (Department of Psychology, Northern State University, Aberdeen, South Dakota, USA)

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 23 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to investigate cross‐cultural differences between American and Japanese college students' body type under/overestimation regarding their own bodies within the framework of self‐construal theory.

Design/methodology/approach

Information from 137 American college students and 160 Japanese college students was collected in using a survey method. Their height, body weight, gender, and self‐estimated body types from three different options (underweight, normal weight, and overweight) was collected in order to assess the relationship between self‐estimated and real body types of these participants. The real body type based on one's body mass index and the self‐estimated body type were compared for each participant.

Findings

Japanese students were found to be more in the underweight category and less in the overweight category than American students. It was also found that Japanese students, and female students in general, were more likely to overestimate their body types and American students, and male students in general, were more likely to underestimate their body types.

Research limitations/implications

The present study used self‐report survey method and should be considered a pilot study. In future research, the height and weight of participants should actually be measured to obtain more reliable data. Future research should investigate other possible psychological factors for creating different body types between different cultures.

Originality/value

The present study was the first cross‐cultural study regarding body type under/overestimation regarding their own bodies between American and Japanese college students.

Keywords

Citation

Kobayashi, F. (2008), "Searching for cultural psyche in body type variance: American vs Japanese body type estimations", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 249-255. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346650810871939

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited