Body weight misperception patterns and their association with health-related factors among adolescents in South Korea

Authors

  • Hyunjung Lim,

    1. Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity, Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    2. Research Institute of Medical Nutrition, Department of Medical Nutrition, Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do 446-701, Republic of Korea
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  • Youfa Wang

    Corresponding author
    1. Johns Hopkins Global Center on Childhood Obesity, Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Funding agencies: The study in part was supported by the NIH U54 HD070725.

    Author contributions: The contributions of the authors—H.L. designed the study, acquired and analyzed the data, interpreted the results, and drafted the manuscript; Y.W. designed the study, guided the data analysis, interpreted the results, and revised the manuscript. All authors were involved in writing the paper and had final approval of the submitted and published versions.

Abstract

Objective

Examined body weight misperception and its association with health-related factors among South Korean adolescents.

Design and Methods

The 2009 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey data from 72,399 adolescents aged 12-18 years were used. Based on agreements between weight status assessed according to self-reported BMI and self-perceived weight status, adolescents were classified as weight underestimate, accurate, and overestimate. Logistic regression models examined the associations controlling for covariates.

Results

Over 50% adolescents misclassified their own weight status: underestimation (23.4%) and overestimation (26.8%). Boys had a higher underestimation rate than girls (30.3% vs. 15.6%) and a lower overestimation rate (21.3% vs. 33.0%). In girls, overestimation was higher in high-income families and well-educated parents (41.0%). Compared to those with accurate weight perception, participants who underestimated their weight were more likely to have an unhealthy diet as indicated by higher daily consumption (≥once/day) of fast food [OR = 1.18 (1.00, 1.39)] and unhealthy snacks [OR = 1.11 (1.03, 1.19)]. Girls who overestimated their weight had more screen time [≥2 h/day, OR = 1.12 (1.03, 1.22)]. Participants who overestimated their weight were more likely to be stressed [OR = 1.24 (1.18, 1.31)] and depressed [OR = 1.18 (1.21, 1.25)].

Conclusions

Over half of Korean adolescents had misperception on own weight status, the rates varied by gender and socioeconomic status. Weight misperception is associated with health-related outcomes compared to peers with accurate perceptions about own weight status.

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