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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAB Determines Characteristics Linked to Weight Misperception in Overweight and Obese Men

Dr. Dwight William Lewis, Jr., post-doctoral fellow in the office of energetics and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, recently determined the prevalence of weight misperception (i.e., weight underestimation) among overweight and obese men with total body fat levels 25 percent and higher, in addition to examining associations of weight misperception with anthropometric and body composition measures.

[Photo: Dr. Dwight William Lewis, Jr.]

Study data came from 4,200 overweight or obese men from the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Weight misperception is traditionally operationalized as having a body mass index greater than or equal to 25, while also self-classifying as either “underweight” or “about right weight.” For the purposes of the study, Dr. Lewis and colleagues considered having a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry-derived total body fat percentage 25 percent or higher as an additional criterion for weight misperception. Logistic regression was used to determine physical characteristics associated with weight misperception.

Results indicated that weight misperception was highest among Mexican American (35.9 percent) followed by Black (30.8 percent) and White men (22.9 percent). Without the inclusion of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry as a criterion measure, results would have indicated that weight misperception was highest among Black (52.8 percent) followed by Mexican American (46.7 percent) and White men (31 percent). Physical characteristics associated with weight misperception were decreased arm fat, being overweight, and having a waist circumference 37 inches or smaller.

Findings suggest that future research should include a measure of adiposity in the operationalization of weight misperception among male populations.

“Physical Characteristics Associated with Weight Misperception among Overweight and Obese Men: NHANES 1999-2006” was published in October in the journal Obesity.

Journal article: