Bias in Self-Reported Height and Weight in Preadolescents

Department of Human Kinesiology, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
The Journal of pediatrics (Impact Factor: 3.79). 12/2010; 157(6):911-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.06.038
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To examine the validity of self-reported height and weight and factors related to misreporting in preadolescents. The accuracy of screening for underweight (thinness), overweight, and obesity using self-reported data was also tested.
Self-reported height and weight was administered and then measured in 798 fourth graders age 8 to 11 years. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported and measured data and BMI categories were determined using international age- and sex-specific BMI criteria.
Preadolescents overestimated their height by 0.54 ± 5.17 cm and underreported their weight by 0.80 ± 3.09 kg. BMI derived from self-reported data was underestimated by 0.47 ± 1.79 kg/m². Measured BMI category was an important independent predictor of bias in self-reported weight and BMI. Children who were overweight or obese underestimated their weight and BMI to a greater degree compared with normal weight/underweight children. The influence of sociodemographic factors on bias in self-reported values was relatively small. Approximately 15% of children were misclassified in BMI categories when self-reported data were used, especially in the underweight (thinness) and obese category.
Children age 8 to 11 years were not able to accurately estimate their actual height and weight, leading to erroneous estimating rates of their weight status.

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Available from: Jan Seghers, Sep 28, 2015
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    • "Self-reported height and weight was used to estimate body mass index (BMI) percentile for age. Studies on the validity and reliability of self-reported height and weight among children indicate a tendency towards overestimation of height and underestimation of weight (Seghers & Claessens, 2012; Tsigilis, 2006). A previous comparison of self-report compared to measured data from [blinded] participants found that weight was estimated more accurately than height, older students (5th versus 1st graders) were better able to estimate both measurements , and underestimation of weight occurred more often as BMI increased (Beck et al., 2012). "
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    • "Self-reported height and weight measures are among the most common methods used to determine obesity prevalence, and ample research on adults’ and adolescents’ ability to self-report exists (1–3); however, research among elementary school–aged children is limited (4,5). Understanding the accuracy of self-report is necessary to determine the appropriateness of using such measures to determine obesity prevalence (6). "
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