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Height and weight bias: the influence of time


Shiely, Frances; Hayes, Kevin; Perry, Ivan J; Kelleher, Cecily C;

Institution: Public Library of Science
Subject Keywords: BMI; height; weight; influence;
Topic: Obesity
Catalogue: Research and Evaluation
Type: Article
Region: Republic of Ireland

Background: We have previously identified in a study of both self-reported body mass index (BMI) and clinically measured
BMI that the sensitivity score in the obese category has declined over a 10-year period. It is known that self-reported weight
is significantly lower that measured weight and that self-reported height is significantly higher than measured height. The
purpose of this study is to establish if self-reported height bias or weight bias, or both, is responsible for the declining
sensitivity in the obese category between self-reported and clinically measured BMI.
Methods: We report on self-reported and clinically measured height and weight from three waves of the Surveys of Lifestyle
Attitudes and Nutrition (SLÁN) involving a nationally representative sample of Irish adults. Data were available from 66 men
and 142 women in 1998, 147 men and 184 women in 2002 and 909 men and 1128 women in 2007. Respondents were
classified into BMI categories normal (,25 kg/m2), overweight (25–,30 kg/m2) and obese ($30 kg/m2).
Results: Self-reported height bias has remained stable over time regardless of gender, age or clinical BMI category. Selfreported
weight bias increases over time for both genders and in all age groups. The increased weight bias is most notable
in the obese category.
Conclusions: BMI underestimation is increasing across time. Knowledge that the widening gap between self-reported BMI
and measured BMI is attributable to an increased weight bias brings us one step closer to accurately estimating true obesity
levels in the population using self-reported data.

Suggested citation:

Shiely, Frances; Hayes, Kevin; Perry, Ivan J; Kelleher, Cecily C; . () Height and weight bias: the influence of time [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 12th November 2019].


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