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Child Obes. 2013 Apr;9(2):132-6. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0096. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Underestimation of weight status in Californian adolescents.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.



Overweight and obese adolescents commonly underestimate their weight status, considering themselves to be at a healthy weight or underweight. These adolescents are more likely to be male, older, and Latino, black, or Native American. Associations with acculturation have not been previously assessed. The goal of this study was to identify the prevalence of underestimation of weight status in Californian adolescents and to identify factors associated with this underestimation, in particular examining relationships with race/ethnicity and acculturation.


Secondary data analysis of the 2005 Adolescent California Health Interview Survey.


A total of 36.6% of overweight and obese Californian adolescents underestimated their weight status. Adolescents not born in the United States had increased odds of underestimating their weight status compared to those born in the United States [adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=1.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08, 3.49; p=0.03]. No significant associations with race/ethnicity were found. An age-sex interaction was observed with older adolescent males having increased odds compared to younger females.


Identification of individuals at increased odds of underestimating their weight status may be important in developing and targeting appropriate counseling and interventions to ameliorate long-term health risks of excess weight.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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