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Obes Res. 2002 Dec;10(12):1259-69.

Association of self-perceived body weight status with dietary reporting by U.S. teens.

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  • 1Department of Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences, Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing 11367, USA.



Children's self perception of body weight and the medical definition of obesity show poor correlation. This study examined the independent associations of body mass index (BMI) and self-perceived weight status (considered self over-, under-, or right weight) with food reporting, nutrient intake estimates, and biomarkers of dietary exposure.


Dietary (one 24-hour recall), anthropometric, and biochemical data were from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1269 boys and 1385 girls, ages 12 to 18 years). Sex-specific multiple regression analyses were used to determine the association of BMI and self-perceived body weight status with reported intakes of energy, macronutrients, low-nutrient-dense foods, micronutrients, and serum concentrations of selected vitamins and carotenoids.


Reported intakes of energy, macronutrients, number of eating occasions, percentage of energy from low-nutrient-dense foods, likelihood of meeting the standard of intake of micronutrients, and biomarkers were not different among boys and girls who perceived themselves as overweight relative to those who perceived themselves at the right weight (p > 0.05). In boys, BMI was a negative predictor of percentage of energy from low-nutrient-dense foods (p = 0.004) and intake of ascorbic acid (p = 0.04). BMI was inversely related to serum concentrations of most carotenoids (p < or = 0.002).


Perceiving oneself as overweight was not associated with reporting of low-nutrient-dense foods, macronutrients, micronutrients, and biomarker status; BMI, however, was a significant predictor of several outcomes.

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