Lean Body Mass and Self-Perceived Body Image among Youth in the United Arab Emirates Muscle and Body Image among Youth in UAE

Main Article Content

Hayder A. Hasan
Hadia Radwan
Fatma Al Majid
Fatma Al Hilo
Rahaf Mohammed
Shooq Al Shaikh
Asma i Al Qassim
Hajer Aboubaker
Mirey Karavetian


Nutrition, Fat Free Mass Index, Lean Body mass, youth, Body image.


Background and Aim: Lean body mass may be a promising tool to screen body image disorders. This study aim was to explore the relationships between fat free mass index (FFM-I) on self-perceived body image and shape among university students in the United Arab Emirates.

Methods: Cross-sectional study, using questionnaires to evaluate demographics, body figure, shape and image dissatisfaction; in addition to anthropometrics like BMI and FFM-I. Accordingly, participants were categorized into adequate muscle mass (AMM) and low muscle mass (LMM) individuals.

Results: A total of 402 participants (50.4% females) aged between 18 and 25 years, were recruited. Almost third (33.8%) of the participants were overweight/obese, 81% had AMM; 48.5% and 76.3% of them were concerned about their body shape and image, respectively; 55.2% desired to be thinner. Males (M) had significantly higher BMI and body fat compared to females (F). Subjects with LMM, irrespective of sex, were underweight (49% F; 40.7% M), desired to be heavier (44.9% F; 74.1% M) and they had a lower agreement in their perceived BMI versus actual (k=0.024; poor) compared with those with AMM (k=0.408; fair); and in general males had a better agreement between their perceived and actual BMI compared to females (0.432, moderate vs. 0.308, fair).

Conclusions :Our results conclude that female sex and LMM were associated with higher body image and shape dissatisfaction; thus, highlighting the importance of increasing awareness among youth to assess body composition and engage in muscle mass building activities as an effective step towards improving body image perception. (www.actabiomedica.it)


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