Factors Associated with Misperception of Weight in the Stroke Belt

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert E. Aronson, Associate Professor (Creator)
Daniel L. Bibeau, Professor (Creator)
Eileen C. Miller, Staff (Creator)
Mark R. Schulz, Assistant Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Understanding the reasons for over-weight and obesity is critical to addressing the obesity epidemic. Often the decision to lose weight is based as much on one’s self-perception of being overweight as on inherent health benefits. OBJECTIVE: Examine the relationships between self-reported health and demographic factors and measured health risk status and the misperception of actual weight status. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study of factors associated with self-perceived overweight status in participants who self-selected to participate in stroke risk factor screenings. Participants were asked, ?Are you overweight?? before their body mass index (BMI) was determined from measured weight and self-reported height. Demographics including, sex, race, education, and location; and health status variables including level of exercise and history of high blood pressure and cholesterol were collected. RESULTS: Mean BMI for the group was 30 kg/m2. Most women (53.1%) perceived themselves to be over-weight, whereas most men (59.6%) perceived themselves not to be overweight. Factors related to misperception of weight status varied by actual BMI category. Among individuals with normal BMI, sedentary individuals had 63% higher odds of misperceiving themselves as overweight. Sedentary individuals with obese BMI were at 55% reduced odds of misperceiving themselves as normal weight. CONCLUSIONS: Active obese and overweight individuals may be more likely to incorrectly perceive them-selves as normal weight, and thus misperceive their risk for stroke. Thus, it is not enough to only counsel individuals to be active. Physicians and other health professionals need to counsel their clients to both be active and to attain and maintain a healthy weight.

Additional Information

Miller, E. C., Schulz, M. R. , Bibeau, D. L. , Galka, A. M. , Spann, L. I. , Martin, L., Aronson, R. E., Chase, C., (2008). Factors Associated with Misperception of Weight in the Stroke Belt. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 23 (3), 323-328.
Language: English
Date: 2008
obesity, weight perception, body mass index, stroke belt, physical activity

Email this document to