Accuracy of self-reported heights and weights in a predominately low-income, diverse population living in the USA

Kate Opichka, Chery Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: This study explored the accuracy of self-reported heights and weights and factors associated with self-reported bias in a diverse American sample. Methods: Demographic, self-reported, and measured height and weight data from different studies with the same PI were compiled into one SPSS file and analyzed with paired t-tests to detect differences between self-reported and actual values. Kruskal-Wallis tests followed by pairwise t-tests detected differences among age, ethnicity, sex, income, and education. Stepwise regression analyses were done using anthropometric differences as the dependent variable and age category, sex, and ethnicity as independent variables to explore which variable was most predictive of anthropometric differences. Results: Individuals over-reported height and under-reported weight leading to an under-calculated BMI from self-reported height and weight by 0.6-1 kg/m2. These under-calculations of BMI led to misclassifications of obesity by 3, 6, 8, and 4% for African American, Euro-American, Native American women, and total women, and by 5, 6, 8, and 8% by African American, Euro-American, Native American men, and total men. Older individuals and males over-reported height more than younger individuals and females. African American females over-reported height to a lesser extent than other ethnicities. Asian males over-reported height to a lesser extent than other ethnicities. Conclusions: Self-reported heights and weights lead to invalid results. Most individuals over-report height and under-report weight, resulting in an inaccurate underweight and obesity prevalence. Being misclassified into the incorrect BMI category could result in inappropriate healthcare treatment. Age, ethnicity, and sex appear to influence the misreporting of height and weight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere23184
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This article uses the data collected with previous students and we would like to thank them (Heidi Dressler; Nicole Eikenberry; Megan Oemichen; Rickelle Richards; Claire Rustrad; Kristen Wiig Damman; Hannah Miller; Tamara Schryver; Abby Klosterbuer, Allen Levine, Biewen Wu, Marie Sais, Vicky Wu, Brad Yentzer, and Amy Gallop) and all of the people who participated in those studies. This project was funded by internal grant money from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords

  • BMI misclassification
  • adults
  • self-reported height
  • self-reported weight

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