The Figure Rating Scale as an Index of Weight Status of Women on Videotape


Center for Human Growth and Development, 300 North Ingalls Building, 10th Floor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0406. E-mail:


Objective: To determine whether Stunkard's Figure Rating Scale (FRS) is a valid and reliable index of weight status when an unbiased observer assigns the figure ratings of adult women viewed on videotape.

Research Methods and Procedures: Seventy-two women drawn from a community sample participated in a videotaped study in which height and weight were measured. The FRS is a rating scale displaying 9 silhouettes ranging from very thin to very obese. Women were assigned a figure rating “in-person” by a research assistant (FRS used as a 17-point scale) and by additional research assistants viewing women only on videotape (FRS used as both a 17- and 9-point scale). Pearson's correlation coefficients were calculated for in-person figure ratings, mean videotape figure ratings, and BMI.

Results: BMI and in-person figure ratings were highly correlated (r = 0.91), as were BMI and both mean 17-point videotape figure ratings and mean 9-point videotape figure ratings (r = 0.89 and 0.87, respectively). Inter-rater agreement for in-person figure ratings and mean 17-point videotape figure ratings was 0.86, and agreement between in-person figure ratings and mean 9-point videotape figure ratings was 0.82.

Discussion: The FRS can be used as an index of women's weight status by an unbiased observer, with subjects viewed in-person or on videotape.