Ethnic variation in validity of the estimated obesity prevalence using self-reported weight and height measurements

Dijkshoorn, Henriëtte; Ujcic-Voortman, Joanne K.; Viet, Lucie; Verhoeff, Arnoud P.; Uitenbroek, Daan G.
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011 Supplement 4, Vol. 11 Issue Suppl 4, p408
Academic Journal
Background: We examined ethnic differences between levels of body mass index (BMI) based on self-reported and measured body height and weight and the validity of self-reports used to estimate the prevalence of obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m²) in Turkish, Moroccan, and Dutch people in the Netherlands. Furthermore, we investigated whether BMI levels and the prevalence of obesity in Turkish and Moroccan people with incomplete self-reports (missing height or weight) differ from those with complete self-reports. Methods: Data on self-reported and measured height and weight were collected in a population-based survey among 441 Dutch, 414 Turks and 344 Moroccans aged 18 to 69 years in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 2004. BMI and obesity were calculated from self-reported and measured height and weight. Results: The difference between measured and estimated BMI was larger in Turkish and Moroccan women than in Dutch women, which was explained by the higher BMI of the Turkish and Moroccan women. In men we found no ethnic differences between measured and estimated BMI. Sensitivity to detect obesity was low and specificity was high. In participants with available self-reported and measured height and weight, self-reports produced a similar underestimation of the obesity prevalence in all ethnic groups. However, many obese Turkish and Moroccan women had incomplete self-reports, missing height or weight, resulting in an additional underestimation of the prevalence of obesity. Among men (all ethnicities) and Dutch women, the availability of height or weight by self-report did not differ between obese and non obese participants. Conclusions: BMI based on self-reports is underestimated more by Turkish and Moroccan women than Dutch women, which is explained by the higher BMI of Turkish and Moroccan women. Further, in women, ethnic differences in the estimation of obesity prevalence based on self-reports do exist and are due to incomplete self-reports in obese Turkish and Moroccan women. In men, ethnicity is not associated with discrepancies between levels of BMI and obesity prevalence based on measurements and self-reports. Hence, our results indicate that using measurements to accurately determine levels of BMI and obesity prevalence in public health research seems even more important in Turkish and Moroccan migrant women than in other populations.


Related Articles

  • Why are we fat? Discussions on the socioeconomic dimensions and responses to obesity. Rayner, Geof; Gracia, Mabel; Young, Elizabeth; Mauleon, Jose R.; Luque, Emilio; Rivera-Ferre, Marta G. // Globalization & Health;2010, Vol. 6, p7 

    This paper draws together contributions to a scientific table discussion on obesity at the European Science Open Forum 2008 which took place in Barcelona, Spain. Socioeconomic dimensions of global obesity, including those factors promoting it, those surrounding the social perceptions of obesity...

  • Ethnic Disparities in Metabolic Syndrome in Malaysia: An Analysis by Risk Factors. Tan, Andrew K.G.; Dunn, Richard A.; Yen, Steven T. // Metabolic Syndrome & Related Disorders;Dec2011, Vol. 9 Issue 6, p441 

    Background: This study investigates ethnic disparities in metabolic syndrome in Malaysia. Methods: Data were obtained from the Malaysia Non-Communicable Disease Surveillance-1 (2005/2006). Logistic regressions of metabolic syndrome health risks on sociodemographic and health-lifestyle factors...

  • SISTERS SPEAK OUT: 'Too Many Black Women Are Too Fat.'.  // Ebony;Oct2004, Vol. 59 Issue 12, p68 

    Discusses obesity in African American women. Diseases that are common to obese women; Origin of the difference in the body structure of such women from other ethnic groups; Factors that led to the prevalence of obesity.

  • 'Food Security' Summit takes on Obesity, Diabetes, Nutrition.  // Ascribe Newswire: Medicine;6/7/2004, p105 

    The rising rates of obesity and diabetes is as much a food system problem as a health problem in California. According to a new report by the International Diabetes Federation and the International Obesity Task Force, one in three Americans born today is predicted to develop diabetes as a...

  • THE OBESITY CULTURE: STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE Public health and university-community partnerships. Johnston, Francis E.; Harkavy, Ira // International Journal of Body Composition Research;2009, Vol. 7 Issue 1, preceding p1 

    The article presents information related to the obesity culture explained in the "International Journal of Body Composition Research." It is noted that the articles are upon practical experience based on projects in Philadelphia, conditions in Central American countries, and public health...

  • More Than Seat Belt Extenders. Field, Karen Auguston // Design News;6/7/2004, Vol. 60 Issue 8, p9 

    Focuses on obesity as the major public health in the U.S. Treatment of obesity; Association of treatment with public health; Challenges faced by obese people.

  • Individual and environmental factors associated for overweight in urban population of Brazil. Mendes, Larissa L.; Nogueira, Helena; Padez, Cristina; Ferrao, Maria; Velasquez, Gustavo // BMC Public Health;2013, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p1 

    Background Obesity is a significant global public health problem and the main cause of many chronic diseases in both developed and developing countries. The increase in obesity in different populations worldwide cannot be explained solely by metabolic and genetic factors; environmental and...

  • News Feature: One step at a time. Powell, Kendall // Nature Medicine;Apr2005, Vol. 11 Issue 4, p363 

    Focuses on community efforts to control the increase in obesity cases in the United States. Strolling and biking for residents of Stapleton in Colorado; Factors linked to obesity; U.S. government's increase in the recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings.

  • Examination Questions.  // PT: Magazine of Physical Therapy;Jun2004, Vol. 12 Issue 6, p99 

    Presents a list of questions on obesity and health. Limitation in using the body mass index; Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the U.S.; Factors influencing the development of obesity.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics