Misperceptions of weight status among adolescents: sociodemographic and behavioral correlates Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • OBJECTIVE: Accurate perceptions of weight status are important motivational triggers for weight loss among overweight or obese individuals, yet weight misperception is prevalent. To identify and characterize individuals holding misperceptions around their weight status, it may be informative for clinicians to assess self-reported body mass index (BMI) classification (ie, underweight, normal, overweight, obese) in addition to clinical weight measurement. METHODS: Self-reported weight classification data from the 2007 Current Visit Information - Child and Adolescent Survey collected at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, were compared with measured clinical height and weight for 2,993 adolescents. RESULTS: While, overall, 74.2% of adolescents accurately reported their weight status, females, younger adolescents, and proxy (vs self) reporters were more accurate. Controlling for demographic and behavioral characteristics, the higher an individual's BMI percentile, the less likely there was agreement between self-report and measured BMI percentile. Those with high BMI who misperceive their weight status were less likely than accurate perceivers to attempt weight loss. CONCLUSION: Adolescents' and proxies' misperception of weight status increases with BMI percentile. Obtaining an adolescent's self-perceived weight status in addition to measured height and weight offers clinicians valuable baseline information to discuss motivation for weight loss.

publication date

  • 2014