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Aust N Z J Public Health. 2008 Apr;32(2):135-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00189.x.

Perceived weight versus Body Mass Index among urban Aboriginal Australians: do perceptions and measurements match?

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  • 1Menzies School of Health Research and Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia. joan.cunningham@menzies.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the relationship between perceived body weight and measured Body Mass Index (BMI) among urban Aboriginal Australian adults.

METHODS:

We compared responses to a question on perceived weight with BMI based on measured health and weight among 248 Aboriginal volunteers aged>or=15 years who took part in a larger health study in the Darwin area between September 2003 and March 2004. Logistic regression was used to examine associations between socio-economic, demographic and cultural factors and under-assessment of weight.

RESULTS:

Being male and having diabetes were significantly associated with under-assessment of weight. Despite under-assessment being common, most participants with a BMI>or=25--and almost all (>90%) those with BMI>or=25 plus high waist circumference--described themselves as overweight.

CONCLUSIONS:

Study participants with BMI>or=25 were generally able to classify themselves appropriately as overweight.

IMPLICATIONS:

Lack of awareness of weight is unlikely to represent a major barrier to engaging Aboriginal people. However, other barriers exist, and both individual-level and environmental/structural approaches are required to reduce the burden of obesity among Aboriginal Australians.

PMID:
18412683
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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