Accuracy of self-reported body weight, height and waist circumference in a Dutch overweight working population

Dekkers, Johanna C., van Wier, Marieke F., Hendriksen, Ingrid J. M., Twisk, Jos W. R. and van Mechelen, Willem (2008) Accuracy of self-reported body weight, height and waist circumference in a Dutch overweight working population. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 8 69: 1-13. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-8-69

Author Dekkers, Johanna C.
van Wier, Marieke F.
Hendriksen, Ingrid J. M.
Twisk, Jos W. R.
van Mechelen, Willem
Title Accuracy of self-reported body weight, height and waist circumference in a Dutch overweight working population
Journal name BMC Medical Research Methodology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2288
Publication date 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-2288-8-69
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 8
Issue 69
Start page 1
End page 13
Total pages 13
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Language eng
Subject 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Formatted abstract
In population studies, body mass index (BMI) is generally calculated from self-reported body weight and height. The self-report of these anthropometrics is known to be biased, resulting in a misclassification of BMI status. The aim of our study is to evaluate the accuracy of self-reported weight, height and waist circumference among a Dutch overweight (Body Mass Index [BMI] ≥ 25 kg/m2) working population, and to determine to what extent the accuracy was moderated by sex, age, BMI, socio-economic status (SES) and health-related factors.

Both measured and self-reported body weight and body height were collected in 1298 healthy overweight employees (66.6% male; mean age 43.9 ± 8.6 years; mean BMI 29.5 ± 3.4 kg/m2), taking part in the ALIFE@Work project. Measured and self-reported waist circumferences (WC) were available for a sub-group of 250 overweight subjects (70.4% male; mean age 44.1 ± 9.2 years; mean BMI 29.6 ± 3.0 kg/m2). Intra Class Correlation (ICC), Cohen's kappa and Bland Altman plots were used for reliability analyses, while linear regression analyses were performed to assess the factors that were (independently) associated with the reliability.

Body weight was significantly (p < 0.001) under-reported on average by 1.4 kg and height significantly (p < 0.001) over-reported by 0.7 cm. Consequently, BMI was significantly (p < 0.001) under-reported by 0.7 kg/m2. WC was significantly (p < 0.001) over-reported by 1.1 cm. Although the self-reporting of anthropometrics was biased, ICC's showed high concordance between measured and self-reported values. Also, substantial agreement existed between the prevalences of BMI status and increased WC based on measured and self-reported data. The under-reporting of BMI and body weight was significantly (p < 0.05) affected by measured weight, height, SES and smoking status, and the over-reporting of WC by age, sex and measured WC.

Results suggest that self-reported BMI and WC are satisfactorily accurate for the assessment of the prevalence of overweight/obesity and increased WC in a middle-aged overweight working population. As the accuracy of self-reported anthropometrics is affected by measured weight, height, WC, smoking status and/or SES, results for these subgroups should be interpreted with caution. Due to the large power of our study, the clinical significance of our statistical significant findings may be limited.

Trial Registration

Keyword Anthropometry
Body height
Body mass
Body weight
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 102 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Thu, 01 Apr 2010, 10:37:11 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of Faculty Of Health Sciences