Weight Misperception Common Among Young Women

Nearly a quarter of overweight reproductive-age women have misperceptions

FRIDAY, Nov. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Weight misperceptions are common among reproductive-age women, according to a study in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Mahbubur Rahman, Ph.D., and Abbey B. Berenson, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, reviewed medical charts and extracted data on sociodemographics, height, weight, weight perceptions, and weight-related behaviors from questionnaires completed by 2,224 young women (aged 18 to 25) who attended reproductive clinics during 2008 to 2010. Each woman was placed in one of four categories based on her own weight perception.

The researchers found that 23 percent of overweight women and 16 percent of normal-weight women had weight misperceptions. Overweight African-American women were more likely than overweight white women to consider themselves to be of normal weight (28 versus 15 percent), while normal-weight African-American women were less likely than normal-weight white women to consider themselves overweight (7 versus 16 percent). Normal-weight women who misperceived their weight were more likely to report weight-reduction efforts than were normal-weight women who did not have weight misperceptions, while the researchers observed opposite scenarios for overweight misperceivers.

"Weight misperception is common among both overweight and normal-weight women of reproductive age. Clinicians should provide patient-specific counseling related to healthy weight management goals that take each patient's perceptions into consideration," the authors write.

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