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/m2/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.