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Norms and attitudes to body fatness: a European comparison


  • Thibaut de Saint Pol


Although average body fatness, measured by the body mass index (BMI) is 23.2 for French women and 26.2 for British women, their reported ideal weight is lower, standing at 19.5 in France and 20.7 in the United Kingdom. Underweight is more highly prized by French women than by women elsewhere in Europe. European women in general are more dissatisified with their weight than men, for whom underweight has negative associations. In France, ideal male BMI is 22.0 (the level at which the proportion considering themselves overweight equals the proportion considering themselves underweight), compared with 22.5 in the United Kingdom, 22.8 in Denmark and as high as 23.4 in Greece.

Suggested Citation

  • Thibaut de Saint Pol, 2009. "Norms and attitudes to body fatness: a European comparison," Population and Societies 455, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  • Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:455

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