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Psychological and behavioral correlates of excess weight: Misperception of obese status among persons with Class II obesity

Authors

  • Megan Jones MS,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium, Redwood City, California
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Carlos M. Grilo PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    2. Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Robin M. Masheb PhD,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
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  • Marney A. White PhD

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    • Program for Obesity, Weight, and Eating Research, School of Medicine, Yale University, P.O. Box 208098, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8098
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Abstract

Objective:

This study examined psychological and behavioral correlates of weight status perception in 173 Class II obese adult community volunteers.

Method:

Participants completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Self-Report (EDE-Q), Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ), Beck Depression Inventory, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale online. Key items assessed dieting frequency, weight history, and perceived current weight status (normal weight, overweight, or obese). Actual weight status was determined using NIDDK/CDC classification schemes.

Results:

Among participants with Class II obesity, 50.9% incorrectly classified their weight as overweight versus obese, whereas 49.1% accurately perceived their weight status as obese. Inaccurate participants reported significantly less binge eating and less eating disorder psychopathology. Despite similar BMI, inaccurate participants reported less distress regarding overeating and loss of control over eating.

Discussion:

Our findings suggest that obesity status underestimation is associated with less eating disorder psychopathology. Underestimation of obesity status may exacerbate risk for negative health consequences because of a failure to recognize and respond to excess weight. © 2009 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2010;)

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