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


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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    • "A recent study among children and teenagers has indicated a similar pattern of more girls perceiving themselves as more overweight/obese, and consequently tend to lose weight than boys (Darshini & Rajeshi, 2013). Although, they cannot discriminate between body size being misperceived, verbal description methods with scale ranging from " very underweight " to " very overweight " ( Wardle & Marsland, 1990; Brener et al., 2004; Johnson et al., 2008) have been widely used in the assessment of body weight among children and adults. To complement verbal description methods, body images with known sizes are now available for assessment of body size among children (Truby & Paxton, 2002, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among children has become a public health concern both in developing and developed countries. Previous research studies have shown that favourable perception of one’s body weight is an important factor in weight control. This study determined prevalence of overweight and obesity and assessed perception about body weight among primary schoolchildren in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In this cross sectional study, nine schools were selected randomly from a list of all primary schools in Dar es Salaam. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic characteristics and lifestyle information including perception about body weight. Height and weight were measured following standard procedures. Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regressions were used to determine factors which influence perceptions about body weight. A total of 446 children were included into the study. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 16.6±4.0kg/m2 (16.1±4.0 for males and 17.0±4.0 for females). Prevalence of overweight and obesity was 9.8% and 5.2%, respectively. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was significantly higher among girls, 13.1% and 6.3% compared to boys with 6.3% and 3.8% overweight and obese respectively (P=0.0314). Overall, the prevalence of overweight and obesity was 15.0% (10.1% among boys and 19.4% among girls). One-third (33.3%) of the children perceived their body weight as overweight or obese. Among overweight and obese children, 35.4% had unfavourable perception of their body weights. There was a statistically significant difference between perceived body weight and actual body weight as indicated by BMI for both boys and girls (P<0.05). Age of the child (AOR=O.55 95%CI 0.36-0.85) and area of residence (COR=0.64 95% CI 0.44-0.95) were found to be significant predictors of favourable perception of one’s body weight. In conclusion, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is not very high in this population. However over a third of overweight and obese children, had unfavourable perception of their body weights. We recommend targeted educational programmes about overweight and obesity and the associated health effects in order to instill a behavior of self consciousness on overweight and obesity among children in Tanzania.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Tanzania journal of health research
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    • "The perception of body weight by adolescents affects eating habits, eating behavior, and weight control [9]. Misperception of body shape is important because it negatively affects future as well as present physical and mental health, such as occurrence of depression in young adulthood [8,10-15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Rapid physical and emotional growth occurs during youth. Adolescence is one of the most important periods for adapting to body change and establishing an ideal body image. Body change is an important and sensitive concern for adolescents, and the values and self-conception established at this time affect various aspects of the entire life. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and trends of weight misperception among adolescents in Korea. Methods We analyzed raw data from the 2011 Korea Youth Risk Behaviour Web-based Survey-VII (KYRBWS-VII), in which 73,474 adolescents from the middle-school first grade to the high-school third grade (aged 12–18) participated. For the multivariate logistic regression model, the dependent variable was existence of misperception (yes/no) and independent variables were sociodemographic factors. Results We found that the prevalence of weight misperception was 49.3% (overestimation, 23.7%; underestimation, 25.6%). Among male students, 65.0% underestimated their weight, whereas 62.2% of female students overestimated their weight. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that gender (OR = 1.254; 95% CI = 1.214–1.294; p < 0.001) and socioeconomic status (OR = 1.173; 95% CI = 1.121–1.228; p < 0.001) were significantly associated with weight misperception. Compared with overweight/obese adolescents, adolescents whose BMI-based body weight was underweight or normal showed 2.386-times higher (OR = 2.386; 95% CI = 2.045–2.783, p < 0.001) and 32.804-times higher (OR = 32.804; 95% CI = 29.829–36.077, p < 0.001) body shape misperception, respectively. Conclusions An effective obesity intervention program for adolescents must reflect and monitor body shape perception as well as BMI, and should include subjects who overestimate as well as underestimate their weight.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Public Health
    • "In addition, in Grade 12, the digestion system was presented, although without any information regarding its relationship with obesity. Therefore, we particularly selected the grades at the high school level, because students in those grades had taken many biology and science courses and were very sensitive about obesity issues (Brener et al. 2004). "
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    ABSTRACT: Obesity is a critical global public health issue. It leads to numerous health conditions that limit the qual-ity and length of life, placing a huge burden on healthcare systems around the world. Scholars believe that the fight against obesity can be won only through multidisciplinary efforts. However, the literature on people ’s understanding of obesity is limited, perhaps because this topic does not attract the attention of educators at the appropriate level. Although existing studies show that people lack understanding about the mechanisms of obesity, most of the arguments in these papers suffer from a lack of theoretical background and methodological problems. Therefore, we conceived the present study based on a sound theory (conceptual change) in order to understand school students ’ conceptual patterns regarding weight gain, which is an important component of obesity knowledge. A written questionnaire probing the mech-anism of weight gain was distributed to 151 secondary school students in the Turkish part of Cyprus. Content analysis was applied to students ’ compositions. The results showed that students have six major conceptual patterns about weight gain. They also hold a range of misconceptions and misunderstandings, and sometimes have no conceptions. At the end of the paper, we discuss possible curricular and teaching implications based on the patterns and incorrect knowledge structures.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of biological education
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