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J Health Popul Nutr. 2014 Mar;32(1):58-67.

Perception of weight and health status among women working at health centres of Tehran.


Perception of body-weight status is an important determinant of weight-related behaviours and may affect the burden of weight disturbances as a public-health problem. No study has assessed self-perception of the weight status regarding body-fat distribution among health workers to date. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of the perception of weight and health status among 542 women working at health centres of Tehran. We assessed their perceived body-weight and health status and measured waist- and hip-circumference, weight, and height to calculate waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) as a measure of fat distribution and body mass index (BMI, kg/m2). Women reported their sociodemographic information, and the perceived weight and health status were compared with their actual fatness status, defined based on WHR and BMI, to determine misperception of weight status. Multivariate logistic regression models were performed to assess the predictive effects of various sociodemographic factors and actual fatness on the perception of weight and health status. The results showed that more than 40% of women with normal BMI overestimated their body-weight status while only 15.8% of these women had central obesity. BMI was the most important variable associated with misperceived weight status as normal-weight women had significantly more misperception (OR 8.16, 95% CI 4.82-13.82) than overweight/obese women. WHR did not show any significant relationships with perceived weight status. In addition, perception of health status was not associated with actual fatness indices. It is concluded, BMI was the main predictor of the perception of weight status in female employees. The importance of using body-fat distribution in the perceptions of weight and health status should be emphasized.

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