Young Women Often Perceive Their Weight Gain Inaccurately

Race/ethnicity, contraception impact perception, which is frequently inaccurate in young women

FRIDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- For young women of reproductive age, self-perceptions of weight gain are often inaccurate, and are affected by race/ethnicity and contraceptive use, according to a study published online Dec. 2 in the Journal of Women's Health.

Mahbubur Rahman, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., M.P.H., and Abbey B. Berenson, M.D., M.M.S., from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, investigated the accuracy of self-perception of weight gain and its correlates in a multiethnic cohort of women of reproductive age. Self-reported perceptions of weight gain, and data including body weight, height, and other covariates, were collected at baseline and every six months for 36 months. The final analysis included 466 women with at least two follow-up visits, with a total of 1,744 observations.

The investigators found that weight gain of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 kg was observed in 44, 30, 19, 12, and 8 percent of women, while 59, 67, 73, 78, and 85 percent of women, respectively, accurately recognized weight gain. Users of depot medroxyprogesterone were more likely to recognize weight gain than nonhormonal contraceptive or oral contraceptive users, and blacks were more likely than whites to recognize weight gain. The differences were significant even after adjusting for covariates.

"Inability to recognize weight gain is common among young women. Both race/ethnicity and contraceptive methods influence the accurate perception of weight gain. Clinicians should provide patient-specific counseling to address the frequent inaccuracies to recognize weight gain," the authors write.

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