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J Epidemiol. 2011;21(1):30-6. Epub 2010 Oct 9.

Validity of self-reported height and weight in a Korean population.

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Cancer Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Center, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.



Accessible public information on self-reported height and weight is not widely used in studies of obesity, mainly because of the questionable validity of body mass index (BMI) values calculated from these data. To assess the utility of self-reported measurement, we compared self-reported and standard measurements of height and weight in a Korean population that is leaner than Western populations.


A cross-sectional comparison of self-reported and measured height and weight was conducted among a population of participants in a cancer screening program. A total of 557 men and 1010 women aged 30 to 70 years were included in the current analysis.


Self-reported height was higher than measured values in both men and women. Self-reported weight was higher than measured weight in women, but was not different in men. BMI calculated from measured values was higher than BMI derived from self-reported height and weight among men. Younger age was a predictor of accuracy in self-reported height, and higher weight and BMI were predictors of under-reporting of weight. The prevalence of obesity based on self-reported values was lower than the true prevalence of obesity. With respect to classifying individuals as obese, the specificity and sensitivity of BMI calculated from self-reported values were very high for both sexes.


Self-reported height and weight were reasonably valid in this study population.

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