Abstract

Introduction. Nutrition studies in Mexico point in three directions: obesity as a public health problem, particularly among women; the increasing prevalence of other illnesses as anorexia and bulimia; and the concerns about the body perception, leading to transform some practices and food performances, in women who lives in rural areas. Objectives: to have a first approach to the body perception of women in rural areas, know how they are, how they perceived themselves, and how they like to be, and identifying some of their food representations. Material and Methods: We studied 564 women from 13 rural communities; they were weighed and measured, and they answered a questionnaire. Results: According to BMI, 33% of women were classified as normal weight; 9.6%, with thinness; 29.4%, overweight; and 28%, obese. Women were perceived thinner, unlike other research, and would like to be thinner. Discussion: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among women in these areas is highlighted. The "dislike to her body", related to the aesthetic aspect, shows an increase in the concern for the body in the women of the rural communities. Conclusions: It is considered that including issues, such as body perception and body ideal, in feeding and nutritional programs is relevant to prevent eating disorders. The meanings that the women have about the act of eating or not eating certain foods, meals or products  "good to transform the body" are central topic for planning actions and strategies in this field.

Keywords: body image, food representations, women, rural communities, Mexico