This study seeks to determine whether perception of weight status among the overweight has changed with the increasing overweight/obesity prevalence.
The perception of weight status was compared between overweight participants (BMI between 25.0–29.9 kg/m2) from NHANES III (1988–1994) and overweight participants from NHANES 1999–2004. Perception of weight status was assessed by asking participants to classify their weight as about the right weight, underweight or overweight. Comparisons were made across age groups, genders, race/ethnicities and various income levels.
Fewer overweight people during the NHANES 1999–2004 survey perceived themselves as overweight when compared to overweight people during the NHANES III survey. The change in distortion between the survey periods was greatest among persons with lower income, males and African-Americans.
The increase in overweight/obesity between the survey years (NHANES III and NHANES 1999–2004 has been accompanied with fewer overweight people perceiving themselves as overweight.
Obesity is disproportionately prevalent among many racial/ethnic minority communities. The efficacy of weight control efforts in these groups may depend on individual's ability to accurately perceive their weight status. We examined whether racial/ethnic differences exist in weight status misperception among overweight adults.
Nationally-representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2002 were examined. Participants included overweight and obese adult men (n = 3115) and women (n = 3437). Weight status misperception was identified among respondents who self-reported being "about the right weight/underweight."
Blacks (OR = 2.06, 95% CI: 1.71, 2.54) were twice as likely and Hispanics (OR = 1.70, 95%CI: 1.33, 2.17) were 70-percent more likely than Whites to misperceive their weight, in models adjusted for age, education, income, marital status, self-reported health, and self-reported medical diagnosis of overweight. Black overweight (OR = 2.03, 95% CI: 1.26, 3.26) and obese (OR = 3.56, 95% CI: 1.57, 8.11) women were considerably more likely to exhibit misperception compared to their White female counterparts. Odds of misperception were higher among overweight Black (OR = 2.20, 95%CI: 1.54, 3.15), Hispanic (OR = 1.89, 95% CI: 1.30, 2.75), and obese Black men (OR = 2.84, 95% CI: 1.54, 5.22), compared to White men.
Weight status misperceptions among the overweight are more common among Blacks, and Hispanic men. The persistence of racial/ethnic differences after adjustment for medical diagnosis of overweight may suggest some resistance to physician weight counseling. Identifying strategies to correct weight status misperceptions status may be necessary to ensure the efficacy of clinical and public health obesity interventions conducted among these groups.
Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in UK young people remain high in men and women. However, the National Chlamydia Screening Programme has had limited success in reaching men. The authors explored the acceptability of various medical, recreational and sports venues as settings to access self-collected testing kits for STIs and HIV among men in the general population and those who participate in sport.
A stratified random probability survey of 411 (weighted n=632) men in Great Britain aged 18–35 years using computer-assisted personal and self-interviews.
Young men engaged well with healthcare with 93.5% registered with, and 75.3% having seen, a general practitioner in the last year. 28.7% and 19.8% had previously screened for STIs and HIV, respectively. Willingness to access self-collected tests for STIs (85.1%) and HIV (86.9%) was high. The most acceptable pick-up points for testing kits were general practice 79.9%, GUM 66.8% and pharmacy 65.4%. There was a low acceptability of sport venues as pick-up points in men as a whole (11.7%), but this was greater among those who participated in sport (53.9%).
Healthcare settings were the most acceptable places for accessing STI and HIV self-testing kits. Although young men frequently access general practice, currently little STI screening occurs in this setting. There is considerable potential to screen large numbers of men and find high rates of infection through screening in general practice. While non-clinical settings are acceptable to a minority of men, more research is needed to understand how these venues could be used most effectively.
Chlamydia trachomatis; HIV; men; patients-views; sports; testing; sexual practices; sexual behaviour; risk behaviours; heterosexuals; sexual health; sociology; opportunistic inf.; heterosexual behaviour; social/policy perspectives; behavioural intervention; AIDS; gum services; risk profiles; service development
Excessive gestational weight gain promotes poor maternal and child health outcomes. Weight misperception is associated with weight gain in non-pregnant women, but no data exist during pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to examine the association of misperceived pre-pregnancy body weight status with excessive gestational weight gain.
At study enrollment, participants in Project Viva reported weight, height, and perceived body weight status by questionnaire. Our study sample comprised 1537 women who had either normal or overweight/obese pre-pregnancy BMI. We created 2 categories of pre-pregnancy body weight status misperception: normal weight women who identified themselves as overweight ('overassessors') and overweight/obese women who identified themselves as average or underweight ('underassessors'). Women who correctly perceived their body weight status were classified as either normal weight or overweight/obese accurate assessors. We performed multivariable logistic regression to determine the odds of excessive gestational weight gain according to 1990 Institute of Medicine guidelines.
Of the 1029 women with normal pre-pregnancy BMI, 898 (87%) accurately perceived and 131 (13%) overassessed their weight status. 508 women were overweight/obese, of whom 438 (86%) accurately perceived and 70 (14%) underassessed their pre-pregnancy weight status. By the end of pregnancy, 823 women (54%) gained excessively. Compared with normal weight accurate assessors, the adjusted odds of excessive gestational weight gain was 2.0 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3, 3.0) in normal weight overassessors, 2.9 (95% CI: 2.2, 3.9) in overweight/obese accurate assessors, and 7.6 (95% CI: 3.4, 17.0) in overweight/obese underassessors.
Misperceived pre-pregnancy body weight status was associated with excessive gestational weight gain among both normal weight and overweight/obese women, with the greatest likelihood of excessive gain among overweight/obese underassessors. Future interventions should test the potential benefits of correcting misperception to reduce the likelihood of excessive gestational weight gain.
The authors assessed associations of body size perception and weight change over 13 years in black men and women and white men and women from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study (1992–2005). The perceptions of self and ideal body size were measured by using the Stunkard 9-figure scale at the year 7 examination (1992–1993). Figures were classified into underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obese. Self-ideal discrepancy yielded 4 body size satisfaction categories. Body mass index (BMI) (measured at years 7, 10, 15, and 20) was the dependent variable in gender-specific adjusted multiple regression models stratified by year 7 BMI. Obese women who perceived themselves as obese lost 0.09 BMI units annually, while those who perceived themselves as normal weight gained 0.31 units annually (P = 0.0005); obese women who considered their body size much too large had less annual weight gain than did those who considered their body size a bit too large (0.21 vs. 0.38 BMI units; P = 0.009). Obese women with overweight ideal body size gained less weight annually than did those with normal weight ideal body size (0.12 vs. 0.27 BMI units; P = 0.04). Results for men showed fewer and weaker associations. When obese women perceive themselves as obese and feel that their body size is too large, they gain less weight over time.
body image; body mass index; health status disparities; obesity; psychology; weight gain
Few studies have examined the association between weight perception and socioeconomic status (SES) in sub-Saharan Africa, and none made this association based on education, occupation and income simultaneously.
Based on a population-based survey (n = 1255) in the Seychelles, weight and height were measured and self-perception of one's own body weight, education, occupation, and income were assessed by a questionnaire. Individuals were considered to have appropriate weight perception when their self-perceived weight matched their actual body weight.
The prevalence of overweight and obesity was 35% and 28%, respectively. Multivariate analysis among overweight/obese persons showed that appropriate weight perception was directly associated with actual weight, education, occupation and income, and that it was more frequent among women than among men. In a model using all three SES indicators together, only education (OR = 2.5; 95% CI: 1.3-4.8) and occupation (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.2-4.5) were independently associated with appropriate perception of being overweight. The OR reached 6.9 [95% CI: 3.4-14.1] when comparing the highest vs. lowest categories of SES based on a score including all SES indicators and 6.1 [95% CI: 3.0-12.1] for a score based on education and occupation.
Appropriately perceiving one's weight as too high was associated with different SES indicators, female sex and being actually overweight. These findings suggest means and targets for clinical and population-based interventions for weight control. Further studies should examine whether these differences in weight perception underlie differences in cognitive skills, healthy weight norms, or body size ideals.
Obesity in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is associated with adverse hepatic and metabolic outcomes. This prospective study evaluates the agreement between self-perceived body weight (BW) status and measured body mass index (BMI) category and factors associated with its underestimation in CHC. Body size perception was measured with the Contour Drawing Rating Scale. Two hundred and seventy-three patients with CHC (overweight 45%, obese 18%) participated in this study. Although both overweight and obese demonstrated good body size perception, agreement between perceived BW and measured BMI categories was poor (κ = 0.315, 95% CI 0.231–0.399); 33% of overweight/obese respondents considered themselves normal or underweight. Male gender (OR 2.84) and overweight (OR 2.42) or obese BMI (OR 14.19) were associated with underestimation of BW category. Targeted interventions are needed to improve body weight perception, thereby enhancing the uptake of health advice on management of excess body weight in CHC.
This study explored the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and weight perception, self-esteem, positive body image, food beliefs, and mental health status, along with any gender differences in weight perception, in a sample of adolescents in Spain.
The sample comprised 85 students (53 females and 32 males, mean age 17.4 ± 5.5 years) with no psychiatric history who were recruited from a high school in Écija, Seville. Weight and height were recorded for all participants, who were then classified according to whether they perceived themselves as slightly overweight, very overweight, very underweight, slightly underweight, or about the right weight, using the question “How do you think of yourself in terms of weight?”. Finally, a series of questionnaires were administered, including the Irrational Food Beliefs Scale, Body Appreciation Scale, Self Esteem Scale, and General Health Questionnaire.
Overall, 23.5% of participants misperceived their weight. Taking into account only those with a normal BMI (percentile 5–85), there was a significant gender difference with respect to those who perceived themselves as overweight (slightly overweight and very overweight); 13.9% of females and 7.9% of males perceived themselves as overweight (χ2 = 3.957, P < 0.05). There was a significant difference for age, with participants who perceived their weight adequately being of mean age 16.34 ± 3.17 years and those who misperceived their weight being of mean age 18.50 ± 4.02 years (F = 3.112, P < 0.05).
Misperception of overweight seems to be more frequent in female adolescents, and mainly among older ones. Misperception of being overweight is associated with a less positive body image, and the perception of being very underweight is associated with higher scores for general psychopathology.
weight misperception; self-esteem; positive body image; psychological distress; food beliefs
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 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.
Perceived weight; weight loss attempts; gender; body mass index
To determine whether adults accurately perceived their weight status category and could report how much they would need to weigh in order to be classified as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
Research Methods and Procedures
Height and weight were measured on 104 White and African American men and women 45 to 64 years of age living in North Carolina. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated for each participant, and participants were classified as underweight (<18.5), normal weight (≥18.5 to <25.0), overweight (≥25.0 to <30.0), or obese (≥30.0). Participants self-reported their weight status category and how much they would have to weigh to be classified in each weight status category.
Only 22.2% of obese women and 6.7% of obese men correctly classified themselves as obese (weighted kappa: 0.45 in women and 0.31 in men). On average, normal weight women and men were reasonably accurate in their assessment of how much they would need to weigh to be classified as obese; however, obese women and men overestimated the amount. Normal weight women thought they would be obese with a BMI of 28.9 kg/m2, while obese women thought they would be obese with a BMI of 38.2 kg/m2. The estimates were 30.2 kg/m2 and 34.5 kg/m2 for normal weight and obese men, respectively.
The sample size was small and was not selected to be representative of North Carolina residents.
Obese adults’ inability to correctly classify themselves as obese may result in ignoring health messages about obesity and lack of motivation to reduce weight.
Body mass index; body image; body size; awareness; perception
Many Americans fail to accurately identify themselves as overweight and underestimate their risk for obesity-related diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between weight perceptions and perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease among overweight or obese women.
We examined survey responses from 397 overweight or obese female health center patients on disease risk perceptions and weight perceptions. We derived odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from multivariable logistic regression analyses to examine predictors of perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease. We further stratified results by health literacy.
Perceiving oneself as overweight (OR, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.16-6.66), believing that being overweight is a personal health problem (OR, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.26-4.80), and family history of diabetes (OR, 3.22; 95% CI, 1.53-6.78) were associated with greater perceived risk for diabetes. Perceiving oneself as overweight (OR, 4.33; 95% CI, 1.26-14.86) and family history of heart disease (OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.08-4.69) were associated with greater perceived risk for heart disease. Among respondents with higher health literacy, believing that being overweight was a personal health problem was associated with greater perceived risk for diabetes (OR, 4.91; 95% CI, 1.68-14.35). Among respondents with lower health literacy, perceiving oneself as overweight was associated with greater perceived risk for heart disease (OR, 4.69; 95% CI, 1.02-21.62).
Our findings indicate an association between accurate weight perceptions and perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease in overweight or obese women. This study adds to research on disease risk perceptions in at-risk populations.
The health and social impact of drinking in excess of internationally recognized weekly (>21 units in men; >14 units in women) and daily (>4 units in men; >3 units in women) recommendations for ‘sensible’ alcohol intake are largely unknown.
A prospective cohort study of 1551 men and women aged around 55 years in 1988 when typical alcohol consumption was recalled using a 7-day grid. An average of 3.4 years later (1990/92), study participants were re-surveyed (n = 1259; 84.7% of the target population) when they responded to nurse-administered enquiries regarding minor psychiatric morbidity, self-perceived health, hypertension, accidents, overweight/obesity and financial difficulties. Study members were followed up for mortality experience over 18 years.
In fully adjusted analyses, surpassing guidelines for sensible alcohol intake was associated with an increased risk of hypertension [daily guidelines only: P-value(trend): 0.012], financial problems [weekly guidelines: P-value(difference): 0.046] and, to a lesser degree, accidents [weekly guidelines: P-value(difference): 0.065]. There was no association between either indicator of alcohol intake and mortality risk.
In the present study, there was some evidence for a detrimental effect on health and social circumstances of exceeding current internationally recognized weekly and daily guidelines for alcohol intake.
alcohol; alcohol consumption; epidemiology
Objective To examine individual social class inequalities in self rated general health within and between the constituent countries of Great Britain and the regions of England.
Design Cross sectional study using data from the 2001 national census.
Setting Great Britain.
Participants Adults aged between 25 and 64 in Great Britain and enumerated in the 2001 population census (n = 25.6 million).
Main outcome measures European age standardised rates of self rated general health, for men and women classified by the government social class scheme.
Results In each of the seven social classes, Wales and the North East and North West regions of England had high rates of poor health. There were large social class inequalities in self rated health, with rates of poor health generally increasing from class 1 (higher professional occupations) to class 7 (routine occupations). The size of the health divide varied between regions: the largest rate ratios for routine versus higher professional classes were for Scotland (2.9 for men; 2.8 for women) and London (2.9 for men; 2.4 for women). Women had higher rates of poor health compared to men in the same social class, except in class 6 (semi-routine occupations).
Conclusions A northwest-southeast divide in social class inequalities existed in Great Britain at the start of the 21st century, with each of the seven social classes having higher rates of poor health in Wales, the North East and North West regions of England than elsewhere. The widest health gap between social classes, however, was in Scotland and London, adding another dimension to the policy debate on resource allocation and targets to tackle the health divide.
Patterns of sexual partnership formation and dissolution are key drivers of sexually transmitted infection transmission. Sexual behavior survey participants may be unable or unwilling to report accurate details about their sexual partners, limiting the potential to capture information on sexual mixing and timing of partnerships. We examined how questions were interpreted, including recall strategies and judgments made in selecting responses, to inform development of a module on recent sexual partnerships in Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (“Natsal-3”). Face-to-face cognitive interviews were conducted with 14 men and 18 women aged 18–74 years, during development work for Natsal-3. People with multiple recent partners were purposively sampled and questions were presented as a computer-assisted self-interview. Participants were generally agreeable to answering questions about their sexual partners and practices. Interpretation of questions designed to measure concurrent (overlapping) partnerships was broadly consistent with the epidemiological concept of concurrency. Partners’ ages, genders, ethnicity, and participants’ perceptions of whether partner(s) had had concurrent partnerships were reported without offense. Recall problems and lack of knowledge were reported by some participants (of all ages), especially about former, casual, and/or new partnerships, and some reported guessing partners’ ages and dates of sex. Generally, participants were able to answer questions about their sexual partners accurately, even when repeated for multiple partners. Cognitive interviews provided insight into the participants’ understanding of, ability to answer, and willingness to answer questions. This enabled us to improve questions used in previous surveys, refine new questions, and ensure the questionnaire order was logical for participants.
Epidemiology; Sexual partnerships; Sexual mixing; Cognitive interview; Sex surveys
A random height and weight survey in a London Borough showed that overweight people were most accurate in the assessment of their weight and underweight people were the least accurate. Overweight women were more aware of their size than overweight men.
Overweight women had made more attempts to lose weight than overweight men. There were no significant differences between overweight women of different age or class groups. Men in social classes A and B were more likely than men in other groups to have tried to lose weight.
These results show that the high prevalence of overweight associated with older and lower social class women cannot be explained by the fact that they are unaware of their size and only partly explained by the fact that they have not made attempts to lose weight.
The results of a second survey conducted among Consumers' Association members showed that the weights considered as ideal by these people corresponded very well with the ideal weights given by life insurance tables.
To show long-term trends of smoking initiation in Great Britain including unanalysed data and assess the impact of early smoking initiation on the lung cancer mortality in later ages focusing on birth cohorts.
Reanalysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys conducted 13 times during 1965–1987.
Men and women aged 16 years and over in each survey.
Primary outcome measures
Smoking initiation for 1898–1969 birth cohorts and lung cancer mortality in 1950–2009.
In men, 1900–1925 birth cohorts showed high smoking initiation (>32%, >50% and >80% at 15, 17 and 29 years old, respectively). Correspondingly, the lung cancer mortality in these cohorts exceeded 1 per 1000 at a young age (50–54 years old). In women, smoking initiation increased clearly from the 1898 cohort to the 1925 cohort (2% to 12%, 4% to 24%, and 13% to 54% at 15, 17 and 29 years old, respectively). Correspondingly, the age at which the mortality exceeded 1 per 1000 became younger (75–79 to 60–64 years old). In both men and women, short-term decreases in initiation were seen from the late-1920s cohorts. Correspondingly, lung cancer mortality decreased. In women, initiation increased again after the mid-1930s cohorts, and mortality increased after they became 60–64 years old.
Clear relationships between smoking initiation and lung cancer mortality across birth cohorts were observed. Countries with rapid increases in initiation in teens should not underestimate the risk in the distant future. Because of the long time lags within cohorts compared with rapid changes in smoking habits across cohorts, age-specific measures focusing on birth cohorts should be monitored.
Public Health; Preventive Medicine; Statistics & Research Methods
To compare the characteristics of a self‐selected, convenience sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) recruited through the internet with MSM drawn from a national probability survey in Great Britain.
The internet sample (n = 2065) was recruited through two popular websites for homosexual men in Great Britain in May and June 2003. This sample was compared with MSM (n = 117) from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal), a probability sample survey of adults resident in Great Britain conducted between May 1999 and February 2001.
No significant differences were observed between the samples on a range of sociodemographic and behavioural variables (p>0.05). However, men from the internet sample were younger (p<0.001) and more likely to be students (p = 0.001), but less likely to live in London (p = 0.001) or report good health (p = 0.014). Although both samples were equally likely to report testing for HIV, men from the internet sample were more likely to report a sexually transmitted infection in the past year (16.9% v 4.8%, adjusted odds ratio 4.14, 95% CI 1.76 to 9.74; p = 0.001), anal intercourse (76.9% v 63.3%; p = 0.001) and unprotected anal intercourse in the past 3 months (45% v 36.6%; p = 0.064).
The internet provides a means of recruiting a self‐selected, convenience sample of MSM whose social and demographic characteristics are broadly similar to those of MSM drawn from a national probability survey. However, estimates of high‐risk sexual behaviour based on internet convenience samples are likely to overestimate levels of sexual risk behaviour in the wider MSM population.
Few data have been published on the validity of classification of overweight and obesity based on self-reported weight in representative samples of Hispanic as compared to other American populations despite the wide use of such data.
To test the null hypothesis that ethnicity is unrelated to bias of mean body mass index (BMI) and to sensitivity of overweight or obesity (BMI >= 25 kg/m2) derived from self-reported (SR) versus measured weight and height using measured BMI as the gold standard.
Cross-sectional survey of a large national sample, the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) conducted in 1988–1994.
American men and women aged 20 years and over (n = 15,025).
SR height, weight, cigarette smoking, health status, and socio-demographic variables from home interview and measured weight and height.
In women and Mexican American (MA) men SR BMI underestimated true prevalence rates of overweight or obesity. For other men, no consistent difference was seen. Sensitivity of SR was similar in non-Hispanic European Americans (EA) and non-Hispanic African Americans (AA) but much lower in MA. Prevalence of obesity (BMI >= 30 kg/m2) is consistently underestimated by self-report, the gap being greater for MA than for other women, but similar for MA and other men. The mean difference between self-reported and measured BMI was greater in MA (men -0.37, women -0.76 kg/m2) than in non-Hispanic EA (men -0.22, women -0.62 kg/m2). In a regression model with the difference between self-reported and measured BMI as the dependent variable, MA ethnicity was a significant (p < 0.01) predictor of the difference in men and in women. The effect of MA ethnicity could not be explained by socio-demographic variables, smoking or health status.
Under-estimation of the prevalence of overweight or obesity based on height and weight self-reported at interview varied significantly among ethnic groups independent of other variables.
Overweight; Obesity; Hispanics; Mexican Americans; Body weight; Blacks
Overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk for developing and dying from colorectal cancer. Studies suggest that overweight and obese women are more likely to avoid or delay cancer screening. Our objective was to determine whether overweight or obese adults aged 50 years and older living in Maryland in 2002 were less likely to be up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening than normal and underweight adults.
The relationship between body mass index and colorectal cancer screening was evaluated based on responses from 3436 participants aged 50 years and older to the Maryland Cancer Survey 2002, a population-based random-digit–dial telephone survey. The survey contains self-reported information on colorectal cancer screening, height, weight, and potential confounders. Logistic regression was performed to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for age, sex, race, employment, marital status, education, area of residence, and health-care–related variables.
Overall, 64.9% of Marylanders aged 50 and older were up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. Compared with normal and underweight individuals, overweight individuals had similar odds of being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.83–1.33). Obese individuals had slightly lower odds, but this difference was not statistically significant (OR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.65–1.09). Recommendation by a health care provider for colorectal cancer screening was strongly associated with up-to-date colorectal cancer screening (OR, 36.7; 95% CI, 28.7–47.0).
Our study shows no statistically significant association between body mass index levels and up-to-date colorectal cancer screening. We recommend that physicians and other health care providers increase up-to-date colorectal cancer screening rates in the population by referring their patients for appropriate screening.
Aim. To document population perceptions of well-being and predictors of self-assessed well-being.
Methods. National face-to-face interview survey of adults aged ≥16 years, conducted by the Office for National Statistics for their Omnibus Survey in Britain (response 58%; 1049 of 1823 eligible).
Results. People aged 65+ years were more likely than younger people to define well-being as being able to continue to do the things they had always done. Most men and women, in all age groups, rated their well-being and mental well-being positively. Self-rated health, mental health symptoms, long-standing illness and social support were the main drivers of overall well-being in all age groups. Mental health symptoms, long-standing illness and social support were the main drivers of mental well-being. For example, in reduced multivariable models, those who reported no long-standing illness had almost twice the odds of others, of good, rather than not good, overall well-being, and over three times the odds of good, rather than not good, mental well-being. The odds of good versus not good overall well-being were also multiplied by 1.002 for each additional available person for comfort and support and similarly by 1.073 in relation to mental well-being.
Conclusions. Understanding the drivers of well-being among adults, including older adults, is of high policy importance. Attention should be focused on improvements in population health and functioning and on encouraging younger and older people to develop and maintain social support networks and engagement in social activities.
Ageing; health; social support; survey; well-being
Public concern about childhood obesity and associated health problems calls for the identification of modifiable factors that could halt this epidemic. Parental perceptions of their children’s weight status could be associated to how parents influence children’s eating patterns. We aimed to identify the perceptions Puerto Rican parents have of their children’s weight and children’s own perceptions of weight status as compared to real weight. A cross sectional survey was performed in a representative sample of 1st–6th grade students. Only half of the children correctly identified their weight, and only 62.4% of the parents correctly classified their children’s weight. Most obese/overweight children did not perceive themselves as such. Almost half of obese/overweight children were identified by the parents as normal weight while over half of the underweight children were perceived by their parents at normal weight. More girls than boys perceived themselves as obese/overweight and more parents of girls than of boys perceived them as such. Higher-educated parents were better at recognizing overweight/obesity among their children compared to less-educated parents. This study suggests an influence of parents’ SES characteristics on their perceptions of children’s weight status as well as on children’s own perceptions of their weight status.
Puerto Rican childhood obesity; parental perception; children perception
Despite low rates of obesity, many university students perceive themselves as overweight, especially women. This is of concern, because inappropriate weight perceptions can lead to unhealthy behaviours including eating disorders.
We used the database from the Cross National Student Health Survey (CNSHS), consisting of 5,900 records of university students from Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and Turkey to analyse differences in perceived weight status based on the question: "Do you consider yourself much too thin, a little too thin, just right, a little too fat or much too fat?". The association between perceived weight and body mass index (BMI) calculated from self-reported weight and height was assessed with generalized non-parametric regression in R library gam.
Although the majority of students reported a normal BMI (72-84% of males, 65-83% of females), only 32% to 68% of students considered their weight "just right". Around 20% of females with BMI of 20 kg/m2 considered themselves "a little too fat" or "too fat", and the percentages increased to 60% for a BMI of 22.5 kg/m2. Male students rarely felt "a little too fat" or "too fat" below BMI of 22.5 kg/m2, but most felt too thin with a BMI of 20 kg/m2.
Weight ideals are rather uniform across the European countries, with female students being more likely to perceive themselves as "too fat" at a normal BMI, while male students being more likely to perceive themselves as "too thin". Programs to prevent unhealthy behaviours to achieve ill-advised weight ideals may benefit students.
Objective To examine the developmental trajectory of obesity in adolescence in relation to sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Design Five year longitudinal cohort study of a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse sample of school students aged 11-12 years at baseline.
Setting 36 London schools recruited to the study in 1999 by a stratified random sampling procedure.
Participants 5863 students participated in one or more years.
Main outcome measures Weight, height, and waist circumference measured annually by trained researchers; overweight and obesity defined according to International Obesity Task Force criteria; adiposity and central adiposity indexed by body mass index (BMI) and waist standard deviation scores relative to 1990 British reference values.
Results In school year 7 (age 11-12), the prevalence of overweight and obesity combined was almost 25%, with higher rates in girls (29%) and students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (31%) and the highest rates in black girls (38%). Prevalence of obesity increased over the five years of the study at the expense of overweight, but no reduction occurred in the proportion of students with BMIs in the healthy range. Waist circumferences were high compared with 1990 norms at age 11 (by 0.79 SD in boys and by 1.15 SD in girls) and increased further over time. Both BMI and waist circumference tracked strongly over the five years.
Conclusions Prevalence of overweight and obesity was high in London school students, with significant socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities. Little evidence was found of new cases of overweight or obesity emerging over adolescence, but few obese or overweight adolescents reduced to a healthy weight. The results indicate that persistent obesity is established before age 11 and highlight the need to target efforts to prevent obesity in the early years.
The prevalence of obesity is higher in blacks than whites, especially in black women, and is known to be associated with major cardiovascular disease risk factors, which are also more prevalent in blacks than whites. Weight perception may contribute to these differences if blacks are more likely to underestimate their weight. We explored race and gender differences in underestimation of weight using body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), after adjusting for other cardiovascular risk factors.
Methods and Results
We studied 219 white and 240 black women and men as part of the META-Health Study. Perceived weight was assessed over the phone and categorized into three categories: underweight or normal weight, overweight, or obesity. Height, weight, and WC were measured at a subsequent visit, and BMI was calculated. Logistic regression was used to compare the likelihood of underestimating actual weight category by race, before and after adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle factors, and medical history. In multivariate analysis, the odds of underestimating BMI category was greater than threefold in blacks compared with whites (OR 3.1, 95% CI 1.9–4.8) and was larger for black women than for black men (p<0.01 for interaction). When abdominal adiposity was taken into account by utilizing WC as a measure of weight, the observed difference in weight underestimation remained.
Our data reveal a significant misperception of weight among blacks, particularly black women, who have the highest burden of obesity. A multifaceted approach with efficient identification of social, cultural, and environmental factors that give rise to obesity tolerance in blacks will provide potential targets for intervention, which may ameliorate weight misperception and the prevalence of excess weight in the black population.
The objectives of this study were to explore the perception of body weight among students in schools in Jeddah City and identify the main determinants of self-perceived obesity, weight management goals and practices.
Material and Methods:
Data were collected from a sample of Saudi school children of 42 boys’ and 42 girls’ schools in Jeddah city during the month of April 2000. Personal interviews were conducted to collect data on socio-demographic factors, food choices, perception of body weight, weight management goals and weight management practices, as well as the actual measurement of weight and height. Students were asked about their perception of their body weight [responses included: very underweight (thin), slightly underweight, about right weight, slightly overweight and grossly overweight (obese)]. Proportion, prevalence and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Multiple logistic regression models were fitted to calculate the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for an attempt to lose weight and weight management practices.
The distribution of self-perception of body size was nearly similar to the measured body mass index (BMI) classification except for the overweight students, where 21.3% perceived themselves, as slightly overweight and 5.5% as very overweight although 13.4% were actually overweight and 13.5% were obese by BMI standards. Approximately half the students took at least 3 pieces of fruit or fruit juice servings, and a third ate at least 4 vegetable servings per day. A third of the students managed to lose weight. This coincides with the proportion of those actually overweight and obese. Around 28.0% of the students ate less food, fat or calories, 31.0% took exercise and 17.6% were engaged in vigorous exercise to lose weight or prevent weight gain. Staying for at least 24 hours without food which is a potentially harmful means of weight control was practiced by 10.0% of students. Females were less likely than males to be overweight and obese but more likely to perceive themselves as grossly overweight and more likely to try to lose weight. Factors associated with efforts to lose weight by eating less fat or fewer calories were older age, high social class, being actually obese and perceiving oneself as being obese. Staying for at least 24 hours without eating was mainly practiced by females, older age groups, and the actually obese. Exercise was done mainly by the older age groups, those with educated and highly educated mothers, obese and perceiving oneself as being obese. Vigorous exercise was mainly performed by males, younger age groups, taking < 3 pieces of fruit or fruit juice servings per day, eating < 4 vegetable servings per day, and those perceiving themselves as obese.
Overweight and obesity are prevalent among our youth and not all obese have a correct image of their body size. Highly recommended are intervention programs of education on nutrition starting in childhood through school age to promote and ensure healthy food choices, improve student's awareness of ideal body size and clinical obesity, encourage physical exercise but discourage potentially harmful weight control measures.
Overweight; perceived obesity; diet; physical activity; weight management; children; adolescents