Agreement between self-reported and measured height, weight and body mass index in old age--a longitudinal study with 20 years of follow-up

Age Ageing. 2010 Jul;39(4):445-51. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afq038. Epub 2010 May 7.


Background: self-reported body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported height and weight is a widely used measure of adiposity in epidemiological research. Knowledge about the accuracy of these measures in late life is scarce.

Objective: the study aimed to evaluate the accuracy and changes in accuracy of self-reported height, weight and BMI calculated from self-reported height and weight in late life.

Design: a longitudinal population-based study with five times of follow-up was conducted.

Participants: seven hundred seventy-four community-living men and women, aged 40-88 at baseline (mean age 63.9), included in The Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging.

Methods: participants self-reported their height and weight in a questionnaire, and height and weight were measured by experienced research nurses at an in-person testing five times during a 20-year period. BMI was calculated as weight (kilogramme)/height (metre)(2).

Results: latent growth curve modelling showed an increase in the mean difference between self-reported and measured values over time for height (0.038 cm/year) and BMI (0.016 kg/m(2)/year), but not for weight.

Conclusions: there is a very small increase in the mean difference between self-reported and measured BMI with ageing, which probably would not affect the results when self-reported BMI is used as a continuous variable in longitudinal studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Concept
  • Surveys and Questionnaires