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Nurs Res. 2013 May-Jun;62(3):195-202. doi: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e318286b790.

Underestimation of adolescent obesity.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. abutt@nursing.upenn.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Previous studies assessing the validity of adolescent self-reported height and weight for estimating obesity prevalence have not accounted for, potential bias due to nonresponse in self-reports.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to assess the implications of selective nonresponse in self-reports of height and weight for estimates of adolescent obesity.

METHODS:

The authors analyzed 613 adolescents ages 12-17 years from the 2006-2008 Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey, a longitudinal study of Los Angeles County households with an oversample of poor neighborhoods. Obesity prevalence estimates were compared based on (a) self-report, (b) measured height and weight for those who did report, and (c) measured height and weight for those who did report.

RESULTS:

Among younger teens, measured obesity prevalence was higher for those who did not report height and weight compared with those who did (40% vs. 30%). Consequently, obesity prevalence based on self-reported height and weight underestimated measured prevalence by 12 percentage points (when accounting for nonresponse) versus 9 percentage points (when nonresponse was not accounted for). Results were robust to the choice of difference child growth references.

DISCUSSION:

Adolescent obesity surveillance and prevention efforts must take into account selective nonresponse for self-reported height and weight, particularly for younger teens. Results should be replicated in a nationally representative sample.

PMID:
23636345
PMCID:
PMC4006016
DOI:
10.1097/NNR.0b013e318286b790
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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