Accuracy of body weight perception and obesity among Chinese Americans

Shan Liu, Mei R. Fu, Sophia H. Hu, Vincent Y. Wang, Robert Crupi, Jeanna M. Qiu, Chuck Cleland, Gail D'Eramo Melkus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Accuracy of body weight perception is an individual's perception of their body weight in comparison with actual body weight and is associated with weight-related behaviors. Chinese Americans have increased risk for obesity but no studies have examined accuracy of body weight perception. Methods This study was a descriptive and cross-sectional study, which was conducted in a community health center in New York. Study subjects were all Chinese-American adults. Demographic information, accuracy of perception of body weight, anthropometric measures (weight, height, body mass index [BMI], waist circumference [WC], hip circumference [HC], weight to height ratio, weight to hip ratio), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) and obesity-related diseases (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke) were assessed. Results A total of 162 Chinese Americans were recruited. 52 subjects (32%) did not perceive body weight correctly: 32 subjects had underestimation and 20 subjects had overestimation of body weight. Significant differences were found among subjects in the three groups of different accuracy of body weight perception in terms of gender (p = 0.003), age (p = 0.003), education years (p = 0.047), WC (p < 0.001), HC (p ≤ 0.001), weight/height ratio (p = 0.001), and BMI (p < 0.001). Accuracy of perception of body weight significantly predicted WC (p < 0.001), HC (p < 0.001), weight to height ratio (p = 0.001), BMI (p < 0.001) and weight (< 0.001) even after controlling for all demographic factors. Discussion and conclusion The study identified that around one-third of Chinese Americans did not perceive their body weight correctly. Intervention studies for obesity management in Chinese Americans should address gender difference, target on older subjects, and focus on educating the normal values and significances of WC, HC and HbA1C among Chinese Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S48-S56
JournalObesity Research and Clinical Practice
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Accuracy of body weight perception
  • Chinese American
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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