Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Piotr Wilk


Objectives: Overweight adolescents frequently fail to recognize that they are overweight. This project examines the magnitude of weight status underestimation among overweight adolescents and identifies predictors of this underestimation.

Methods: Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (2001-2010) were used. Overweight adolescents (N=11,452) reporting they were underweight or about right were classified as underestimating their weight. The time trend in underestimation and effects of individual-level characteristics on underestimation were examined using logistic regression. Multilevel analysis examined the effect of weight status of community-based reference groups.

Results: For every 5 overweight male adolescents, 3 underestimated their weight; 2 of 5 overweight females underestimated. Exposure to overweight explained some of the variation in underestimation across communities among females.

Conclusions: Weight status underestimation is a significant problem among overweight adolescents. Understanding how adolescents perceive their weight is an important and novel concept in maximizing the effectiveness of current approaches to adolescent obesity.

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