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BMJ Open. 2017 Jun 23;7(6):e016098. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016098.

The impact of weight misperception on health-related quality of life in Korean adults (KNHANES 2007-2014): a community-based cross-sectional study.

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Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea.
Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.
Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Daegu University, Gyeongsan-si, South Korea.
College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea.



Weight perception, especially misperception, might affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL); however, related research is scarce and results remain equivocal. We examined the association between HRQoL and weight misperception by comparing obesity level as measured by body mass index (BMI) and weight perception in Korean adults.


Study subjects were 43 883 adults aged 19 years or older from cycles IV (2007-2009), V (2010-2012) and VI (2013-2014) of the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Multiple regression analyses comprising both logit and tobit models were conducted to evaluate the independent effect of obesity level as measured by BMI, weight perception and weight misperception on HRQoL after adjusting for demographics, socioeconomic status and number of chronic diseases. We also performed multiple regressions to explore the association between weight misperception and HRQoL stratified by BMI status.


Obesity level as measured by BMI and weight perception were independently associated with low HRQoL in both separate and combined analyses. Weight misperception, including underestimation and overestimation, had a significantly negative impact on HRQoL. In subgroup analysis, subjects with BMI ranges from normal to overweight who misperceived their weight also had a high risk of low HRQoL. Overestimation of weight among obese subjects associated with low HRQoL, whereas underestimation of weight showed no significant association.


Both obesity level as measured by BMI and perceiving weight as fat were significant risk factors for low HRQoL. Subjects who incorrectly perceived their weight relative to their BMI status were more likely to report impaired HRQoL, particularly subjects with BMI in the normal to overweight range. Based on these findings, we recommend political and clinical efforts to better inform individuals about healthy weight status and promote accurate weight perception.


BMI; HRQoL; obesity; weight misperception

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