Contributions of weight perceptions to weight loss attempts: differences by body mass index and gender

Body Image. 2009 Mar;6(2):90-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2008.11.004. Epub 2009 Feb 1.


Previous studies have consistently observed that women are more likely to perceive themselves as overweight compared to men. Similarly, women are more likely than men to report trying to lose weight. Less is known about the impact that self-perceived weight has on weight loss behaviors of adults and whether this association differs by gender. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among an employee sample (n=899) to determine the association of self-perceived weight on evidence-based weight loss behaviors across genders, accounting for body mass index (BMI) and demographic characteristics. Women were more likely than men to consider themselves to be overweight across each BMI category, and were more likely to report attempting to lose weight. However, perceiving oneself to be overweight was a strong correlate for weight loss attempts across both genders. The effect of targeting accuracy of self-perceived weight status in weight loss interventions deserves research attention.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Self Concept
  • Sex Factors
  • Weight Loss*