• Open Access

A comparison of self-reported and measured height, weight and BMI in Australian adolescents


Centre for Public Health Research, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 4059. Fax: (07) 3864 3130; e-mail: z.wang@qut.edu.au


Objective: To explore the relationship between self-reported weight and height to actual weight and height in older Australian adolescents

Method: Weights and heights of 572 adolescents aged 15–19 years who participated in the 1995 Australian National Health Survey (NHS) and National Nutrition Survey (NNS) were examined.

Results: Self-reported heights were significantly higher than measured heights in participants. There were no differences in the accuracy of self-reported heights among the adolescents by gender. Self-reported weights were significantly lower than measured weights among both boys and girls (p<0.01). There were no differences in the accuracy of self-reported weights among the boys and girls. Differences between actual weight and self-reported weight were significantly greater for overweight or obese adolescents compared with normal/underweight adolescents (p<0.01).The use of self-reported weight and height resulted in the correct classification of overweight or obesity in 69% boys and 70% of girls.

Conclusions: There was no significant gender difference in reporting weight and height in older adolescents Bias in reporting weight and height was much higher in overweight or obese adolescents than normal/underweight adolescents

Implications: The percentage of misclassification of overweight or obesity from self-reported data in this study was 31% for boys and 30% for girls, respectively. Therefore, the self-reported weight and height of older adolescents needs to be more cautiously utilised. Efforts to improve the accuracy of self-reporting in older adolescents are needed if this measure is to be reliable.