Validation of Recall of Body Weight Over a 26-year Period in Cohort Members of the Adventist Health Study 2

Ann Epidemiol. 2012 Oct;22(10):744-6. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.06.106. Epub 2012 Aug 3.


Purpose: The validity of recall of past body weight has been measured and tends to be high; however, the paucity of validation data for recall in older age is noteworthy given the need for accounting for age and disease-related weight change in prospective studies.

Methods: The Adventist Health Study-2 (AHS-2) is a prospective, questionnaire-based study (n = 96,710) that enrolled a cohort from 2002 through 2007 to investigate the role of lifestyle exposures (diet, physical activity, anthropometrics) and health on outcomes such as cancer and mortality.

Results: The mean difference between current weight reported 26 years earlier in AHS-1 and recall of past body weight in AHS-2 was only 0.67 kg, indicating underestimation in the recall of past body weight from ages 30 to 70 years.

Conclusions: Misclassification is differential across both age and adiposity, and this tendency needs to be incorporated into the interpretation of weight history and health outcome literature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protestantism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States