Weight perceptions and perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease among overweight and obese women, Suffolk County, New York, 2008

Susan Darlow, Melody S. Goodman, Jewel D. Stafford, Christina R. Lachance, Kimberly A. Kaphingst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction: Many Americans fail to accurately identify themselves as overweight and underestimate their risk for obesity-related diseases. The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between weight perceptions and perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease among overweight or obese women. Methods: We examined survey responses from 397 overweight or obese female health center patients on disease risk perceptions and weight perceptions. We derived odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) from multivariable logistic regression analyses to examine predictors of perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease. We further stratified results by health literacy. Results: Perceiving oneself as overweight (OR, 2.78; 95% CI, 1.16-6.66), believing that being overweight is a personal health problem (OR, 2.46; 95% CI, 1.26-4.80), and family history of diabetes (OR, 3.22; 95% CI, 1.53-6.78) were associated with greater perceived risk for diabetes. Perceiving oneself as overweight (OR, 4.33; 95% CI, 1.26-14.86) and family history of heart disease (OR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.08-4.69) were associated with greater perceived risk for heart disease. Among respondents with higher health literacy, believing that being overweight was a personal health problem was associated with greater perceived risk for diabetes (OR, 4.91; 95% CI, 1.68-14.35). Among respondents with lower health literacy, perceiving oneself as overweight was associated with greater perceived risk for heart disease (OR, 4.69; 95% CI, 1.02-21.62). Conclusion: Our findings indicate an association between accurate weight perceptions and perceived risk for diabetes and heart disease in overweight or obese women. This study adds to research on disease risk perceptions in at-risk populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110185
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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