Does perception equal reality? Weight misperception in relation to weight-related attitudes and behaviors among overweight and obese US adults

Duncan, Dustin T.; Wolin, Kathleen Y.; Scharoun-Lee, Melissa; Ding, Eric L.; Warner, Erica T.; Bennett, Gary G.
January 2011
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activit;2011, Vol. 8, p20
Academic Journal
Background: Weight misperception might preclude the adoption of healthful weight-related attitudes and behaviors among overweight and obese individuals, yet limited research exists in this area. We examined associations between weight misperception and several weight-related attitudes and behaviors among a nationally representative sample of overweight and obese US adults. Methods: Data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) were used. Analyses included non-pregnant, overweight and obese (measured body mass index ≥ 25) adults aged 20 and older. Weight misperception was identified among those who reported themselves as "underweight" or "about the right weight". Outcome variables and sample sizes were: weight-loss attitudes/behaviors (wanting to weigh less and having tried to lose weight; n = 4,784); dietary intake (total energy intake; n = 4,894); and physical activity (meets 2008 US physical activity recommendations, insufficiently active, and sedentary; n = 5,401). Multivariable regression models were stratified by gender and race/ethnicity. Analyses were conducted in 2009-2010. Results: These overweight/obese men and women who misperceived their weight were 71% (RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.25-0.34) and 65% (RR 0.35, 95% CI 0.29-0.42) less likely to report that they want to lose weight and 60% (RR 0.40, 95% CI 0.30-0.52) and 56% (RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.32-0.59) less likely to have tried to lose weight within the past year, respectively, compared to those who accurately perceived themselves as overweight. Blacks were particularly less likely to have tried to lose weight. Weight misperception was not a significant predictor of total energy intake among most subgroups, but was associated with lower total energy intake among Hispanic women (change -252.72, 95% CI -433.25, -72.18). Men who misperceived their weight were less likely (RR 0.68, 95% CI 0.52-0.89) to be insufficiently active (the strongest results were among Black men) and women who misperceived their weight were less likely (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.54, 1.00, p = 0.047) to meet activity recommendations compared to being sedentary. Conclusion: Overall, weight misperception among overweight and obese adults was associated with less likelihood of interest in or attempts at weight loss and less physical activity. These associations varied by gender and race/ethnicity. This study highlights the importance of focusing on inaccurate weight perceptions in targeted weight loss efforts.


Related Articles

  • Electronic feedback in a diet- and physical activity-based lifestyle intervention for weight loss: a randomized controlled trial. Shuger, Sara L.; Barry, Vaughn W.; Xuemei Sui; McClain, Amanda; Hand, Gregory A.; Wilcox, Sara; Meriwether, Rebecca A.; Hardin, James W.; Blair, Steven N. // International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activit;2011, Vol. 8, p41 

    Background: The SenseWearâ„¢ Armband (SWA) (BodyMedia, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA) is a physical activity and lifestyle monitor that objectively and accurately measures free-living energy balance and sleep and includes software for self-monitoring of daily energy expenditure and energy intake. The...

  • Household food diversity and nutritional status among adults in Brazil. Bezerra, Ilana N.; Sichieri, Rosely // International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activit;2011, Vol. 8, p22 

    Background: The aims of this study were to evaluate whether a diversity of healthy foods in a household would decrease the availability of unhealthy foods and to evaluate the association between a healthy dietary diversity score (DDS) and nutritional status among adults. Methods: Data from the...

  • What Makes You Gain Weight. Murphy, Dee // Current Health 2;Apr/May2002, Vol. 28 Issue 8, p18 

    Presents tips on controlling weight in the U.S. Increase in the number of overweight persons; Factors contributing to gaining weight; Beneficial effects of physical activity. INSET: Rate Your Plate..

  • Beyond Weight Loss: Rethinking Treatment Strategies for Obesity. Buckley, Rita // MD Conference Express;Oct2012, p12 

    The article discusses the role of physical activity/exercise in the management of abdominal obesity. The discussion on the subject was made by Professor Robert Ross of the Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario at the 3rd International Congress on Abdominal Obesity in Quebec. Professor Ross said...

  • Short- and Long-Term Risks for Middle-Aged Adults Becoming Overweight or Obese. Vasan, R. S.; Pencina, M. J.; Cobain, M.; Freiberg, M. S.; D'Agostino, R. B. // Annals of Internal Medicine;10/4/2005, Vol. 143 Issue 7, pI12 

    The article focuses on a study, which discusses the short and long-term risks for normal-weight, middle-aged adults becoming overweight or obese. 4117 white men and women having 30 to 59 years of age were studied. Starting in 1971, the researchers regularly measured weights of adults living in...

  • Environmental Factors and Obesity. Hunter, William // Destined Body: How Genetics & Environment Shape Us;2005, p50 

    This article discusses the relation between environmental factors and obesity. Many scientists, sociologists, and other researchers believe that environment plays a much larger role in the development of obesity than genetics. Evidence suggests that at least some external factors are to blame....

  • Independent Nurse: Professional - Resources - In numbers - Perceived activity levels.  // GP: General Practitioner;2/5/2010, p44 

    The article presents information about the Health Survey for England 2007 which asked children aged 11 to 15, how they perceived their level of physical activity. It says that 46% of boys in the normal weight group, 37% of those in the overweight group and 27% in the obese group, think that they...

  • BODYFAT FIXATION.  // Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness;Feb2010, Vol. 71 Issue 2, p51 

    The article informs about the ways in which gyms and fitness centers measure the amount of fat on one's body. It is stated that the devices available to the public like calipers, fancy scales and hand held devices can only give an estimate of the amount of fat. As stated, the best test methods...

  • Effect of an Accelerometer on Body Weight and Fitness in Overweight and Obese Active Duty Soldiers. Shrestha, Merica; Combest, Travis; Fonda, Stephanie J.; Alfonso, Abel; Guerrero, Arthur // Military Medicine;Jan2013, Vol. 178 Issue 1, p82 

    This study evaluated whether using a web-linked accelerometer, plus mandatory physical training, is associated with various weight- and fitness-related outcomes in overweight/obese active duty soldiers. Soldiers who failed the height/weight standards of the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) were...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics