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Pediatrics. 2000 Jul;106(1 Pt 1):52-8.

Accuracy of teen and parental reports of obesity and body mass index.

Author information

  • 1Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. goode@chmcc.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Adolescent obesity is becoming an increasing public health problem. This study determines: 1) differences in teen and parental report of obesity, 2) amount of misclassification using body mass index (BMI) from self-reported versus measured height and weight as an indicator of obesity, and 3) whether misclassification varies by gender and socioeconomic status.

DESIGN:

Weighted data from 15 483 baseline (T1) youth and parental interviews from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were used. Seventy-four percent of teens were reinterviewed 1 year later (T2). Parents reported socioeconomic status indicators and whether their teen was obese. Teens reported height, weight, and weight perception. BMI was calculated from both self-reported height and weight at T1 and T2 and from measured height and weight at T2. Those with a BMI > or =95% corrected for age and gender were considered obese.

RESULTS:

At T1, nearly one half of teens (47%) reporting they were very overweight were not obese by BMI. For teens obese by BMI, 19.6% were reported to be obese by both parent and teen, 6.4% by teen only, 29. 9% by parent only, and 44.2% by neither teen nor parent. For those with persistent obesity, teen and/or parental report failed to identify more than one third (34%) as obese; 23.4% were identified by both teen and parent report, 5.4% by teen report only, and 37.2% by parent only. At T2, the correlation between BMI calculated from self-reported versus measured height and weight for the overall population was very strong (r = .92). Specificity of obesity status based on self-reported BMI, compared with obesity status based on measured BMI was .996; sensitivity, .722; positive predictive value, .860; and negative predictive value, .978. Overall, 3.8% of teens were misclassified using self-report measures. Girls were no more likely than boys to be misclassified as obese using BMI from self-reported height and weight.

CONCLUSIONS:

Parental report is a better indicator of obesity than teen report of weight status, but parental and teen reports are both poor predictors of adolescent obesity. Using BMI based on self-reported height and weight correctly classified 96% as to obesity status. Thus, studies can use self-reported height and weight to understand teen obesity and its correlates/sequelae.

PMID:
10878149
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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