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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.



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


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.


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.


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


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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