Self-reported and measured weights and heights among adults in Seattle and King County.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


BMC obesity, Volume 3, p.11 (2016)


BACKGROUND: Self-reported weights and heights can be subject to gender, socio-economic, and other biases. On the other hand, obtaining measured anthropometric data can pose a significant respondent burden.

METHODS: Seattle Obesity Study II (SOS II) participants (n = 419) provided self-reported height, weight, and demographic data through an interviewer-assisted behavior survey. Participants were then weighed and measured by trained staff. The entire process was repeated 12 months later. At the follow up visit, participants were also asked to recall their weight from 12 months ago. The concordance between measured and self-reported data was assessed using Bland-Altman plots.

RESULTS: Some weight underreporting by obese individuals was observed. Gender or socio-economic status (SES) did not affect self-reports. Bland-Altman plots provided 95 % limits of agreement of -3.13 to 5.83 for weight (kg), and 1.21 to 2.52 for BMI (kg/m(2)). The concordance between measured and self-reported BMI categories was excellent (Kappa = 0.82 for men, and 0.86 for women). At the follow up visit, participants estimated their weight 12 months ago more accurately than their current weight.

CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported heights and weights were highly correlated with objective measures at two points in time. No gender or SES biases were observed. Minor, yet statistically significant under-reporting (<1.5 kg) was observed for obese participants. Caution should be used when using self-reported data in obese populations.