The validity of self-reported weight in US adults: a population based cross-sectional study

BMC Public Health. 2001;1:11. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-1-11. Epub 2001 Nov 6.


Background: Investigating the validity of the self-reported values of weight allows for the proper assessment of studies using questionnaire-derived data. The study examined the accuracy of gender-specific self-reported weight in a sample of adults. The effects of age, education, race and ethnicity, income, general health and medical status on the degree of discrepancy (the difference between self-reported weight and measured weight) are similarly considered.

Methods: The analysis used data from the US Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Self-reported and measured weights were abstracted and analyzed according to sex, age, measured weight, self-reported weight, and body mass index (BMI). A proportional odds model was applied.

Results: The weight discrepancy was positively associated with age, and negatively associated with measured weight and BMI. Ordered logistic regression modeling showed age, race-ethnicity, education, and BMI to be associated with the degree of discrepancy in both sexes. In men, additional predictors were consumption of more than 100 cigarettes and the desire to change weight. In women, marital status, income, activity level, and the number of months since the last doctor's visit were important.

Conclusions: Predictors of the degree of weight discrepancy are gender-specific, and require careful consideration when examined.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Bias
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight* / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Self Concept*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States