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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1999 Jan;23(1):7-17.

Perception of weight status and dieting behaviour in Dutch men and women.

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  • 1Department of Chronic Diseases and Environmental Epidemiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.



To study the perception of weight status, the accuracy of self-assessment of weight status and weight control practices relative to the degree of adiposity in Dutch men and women.


A cross-sectional study.


2155 men and 2446 women, aged 20-65y, of mostly caucasian origin, non-diabetic, not pregnant or with cancer.


Body weight, height, waist and hip, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, self-administered questionnaire (including questions concerning demographic variables), weight loss practices, dietary intake, participation in sport as part of Dutch Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN).


In the study population, 53% of men and 39% of women were overweight or obese. An association was shown between degree of adiposity and participation in sport for both men and women, and dietary fat intake in men. Of the subjects studied 56% of men and 52% of women described their weight as appropriate. A degree of inaccuracy in the estimation of relative body weight was observed. While dieting was prevalent, particularly among women, there was a lack of weight control action on the part of many overweight or obese individuals. This effect was most marked in men. Body Mass Index (BMI) was the strongest determinant of weight perception and dieting behaviours with some effect of educational level in men. Physical activity was not widely used as a method of weight control.


These results point to a need for regular assessment of an individual's relative weight and health risk, gender specific obesity treatments and prevention strategies, and an emphasis in treatment and prevention of obesity on physical activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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