A doctoral thesis by José Luis Coll of the University of the Balearic Islands reveals that 81% of women and 67% of men in the Balearics are dissatisfied with their body image. The thesis also finds that 55% of all adults have concerns about weight.

Coll’s thesis concentrates on the prevalence of obesity and suggests the need to revise health policies in order to address the issue, noting that the World Health Organization has identified being overweight and obesity as major health problems in the twenty-first century.

In addition to determining the prevalence of obesity and being overweight, the thesis also looks at the trend towards obesity from 2000 to 2010 and various predictors of it: sociodemographics, lifestyles, physical activity in leisure time and self-perception of body image.

Although no gender differences were observed in the prevalence of obesity, men were more inclined to be overweight (36%) than women (25%), the thesis pointing out that in 2010 the overall level of being overweight was 29.4%, while abdominal obesity (men and women) was 33.1%.

It also finds that in the first decade of the century there was an upward trend in obesity among young adults (aged 18 to 35) from 5.1% to 8.3%. Increased prevalence of obesity is said not to be associated with gender, background or professional status.

The young adults were shown to be a group with a high health risk, albeit that despite increasing obesity this age group expressed greater satisfaction with body image than older adults. Nevertheless, the increase in obesity in the young adult population and the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, allied to the level of body image dissatisfaction, all lead Coll to recommend a review of current health policies in the Balearics. He advises that there should be a campaign to explain the consequences of excess weight and that the health authorities on the islands should promote healthy eating and regular physical exercise.