The association between weight perception and BMI among high school students.

Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
Obesity research (Impact Factor: 4.95). 11/2004; 12(11):1866-74. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2004.232
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess the association between weight perception and BMI among a large, diverse sample of adolescents. This study used both measured and self-reported height and weight to calculate BMI.
A convenience sample of students (n = 2032) in grades 9 through 12 completed a questionnaire assessing demographic characteristics, self-reported height and weight, and body weight perception. These students were then weighed and had their height measured using a standard protocol.
Using BMI calculated from measured height and weight, 1.5% of students were classified as underweight or at risk for underweight, 51.2% of students were normal weight, and 47.4% were overweight or at risk for overweight. Among this same sample of students, however, 34.8% perceived themselves as underweight, 42.9% perceived themselves as about the right weight, and 22.3% perceived themselves as overweight. Even when using BMI calculated from self-reported height and weight, >20% of students who were overweight or at risk for overweight perceived themselves as underweight.
Because perception of overweight is a key determinant of adolescent nutritional habits and weight management, many students who are overweight or at risk for overweight but who do not perceive themselves as such are unlikely to engage in weight control practices. Increasing awareness of medical definitions of overweight might improve accuracy of weight perceptions and lead to healthier eating and increased physical activity.

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    Journal of School Health 10/2014; 84(10). · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Body perception has been mainly studied in adolescents and adults in relation to eating disorders and obesity because such conditions are usually associated with distortion in the perception of body size. The development of body perception in children was rather neglected despite the relevance of this issue in understanding the aetiology of health eating problems. The main aim of this study was to investigate body weight and body height perception in children by gender, age and body mass index (BMI), taking into account differences among underweight, healthy weight, overweight and obese children.MethodsA school-based sample of 572 Italian children (49% boys) aged 6–10 were involved in a cross-sectional survey. Current weight and height were measured by standard protocols, and BMI was calculated and converted in centile categories using the Italian growth curves for children. Perceived weight and height were assessed using visual methods (figures representing children of different weight and height).ResultsAbout a third of the children do not show to have an accurate perception of their weight and height (weight: 36%; height: 32%): as for weight, an error of underestimation prevails and as for height, an error of overestimation prevails. In general, children who have different weight and height from the average tend to perceive their physical characteristics closer to average. However, overweight children underestimate their weight much more than obese children.Conclusions Distortions in the perception of their physical features, weight and height, appear to be related to the aesthetic models of Western culture. The tendency to underestimate weight, particularly in overweight children, has implications in interventions for health promotion and healthy lifestyle in school-aged children.
    Child Care Health and Development 12/2014; · 1.70 Impact Factor


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