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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Apr;20(4):599-604. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1850. Epub 2011 Mar 17.

Self-reported versus measured height and weight in Hispanic and non-Hispanic menopausal women.

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Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33101, USA.



Height and weight information is commonly used in clinical trials and in making therapeutic decisions in medical practice. In both settings, the data are often obtained by self-report. If erroneous, this practice could lead to inaccuracies in estimating renal function and medication doses or to inaccurate outcomes of research studies. Previous publications have reported lack of reliability of self-reported weight and height in the general population but have not addressed age-specific and ethnicity-specific subgroups in the U.S. population. The inaccuracy of self-reported weight and height could be particularly significant in times of considerable changes in body weight, such as at menopause, which is often associated with weight gain.


We assessed the validity of self-reported height and weight in 428 women within the first 5 years of menopause, 70.6% of whom were Hispanic.


Participants overestimated their height by 2.2±3.5 cm (mean±standard deviation [SD]) and underestimated their weight by 1.5±2.9 kg. As a group, based on self-reported measures, 33.3% were misclassified with respect to body mass index (BMI) category, and the difference between measured BMI and self-reported BMI was similar between Hispanic white and non-Hispanic white women, positively related to measured weight, and inversely related to measured height, years from menopause, and multiple parity.


From the public health perspective, inaccurate self-report could lead to a considerable underestimation of the current obesity prevalence rates. In our study population, the prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m(2)) was 6.3% based on self-reported values and 18% based on measured height and weight, representing a 3-fold underestimation.

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