Perception of Weight Status in U.S. Children and Adolescents, Aged 8–15 Years

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Author(s): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Published: July 2014

Report Intro/Brief:

  • "About 30% of children and adolescents aged 8–15 years in the United States misperceive their weight status. Weight status misperception is more common among boys (32.3%) than girls (28.0%).
  • About one-third of Mexican-American (34.0%) and non-Hispanic black (34.4%) children and adolescents misperceive their weight status compared with non-Hispanic white children and adolescents (27.7%).
  • Approximately 81% of overweight boys and 71% of overweight girls believe they are about the right weight.
  • Nearly 48% of obese boys and 36% of obese girls consider themselves to be about the right weight.

Childhood obesity is a major public health problem associated with many adverse health outcomes in adulthood. During 2011–2012, nearly 17% of children and adolescents were obese. Weight status misperception occurs when the child’s perception of their weight status differs from their actual weight status based on measured height and weight. Accurate weight status self-perception has been linked to appropriate weight control behaviors in youth. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data for children and adolescents aged 8–15 years offers an opportunity to examine weight perception status in this age group."