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Type: Journal article
Title: The association between misperceptions around weight status and quality of life in adults in Australia
Author: Heard, C.
Scuffham, P.
Ratcliffe, J.
Whitty, J.
Citation: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 2017; 15(1):53-1-53-10
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1477-7525
Statement of
Christopher Heard, Paul A. Scuffham, Julie Ratcliffe and Jennifer A. Whitty
Abstract: Background: Limited evidence supports a possible association between a person’s perception of their weight status and their quality of life (QoL). This study evaluates whether misperception around weight status is associated with QoL and the impact of gender on this association. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of Australian adults (n = 1,905 analysed) collected self-reported height and weight (used to estimate BMI), gender and QoL (described using the AQoL-8D). Participants reported whether they perceived their weight status to be ‘underweight’, ‘healthy weight’, ‘overweight’ or ‘obese’. Misperception around weight status was categorised based on perceived weight status and self-reported BMI. Ordinary least squares regression was used to test associations between self-reported overall, physical and psychosocial QoL, misperception of weight status, and gender, across different BMI categories, after controlling for income, education, relationship status and health conditions. Results: Compared to accurate perception, underestimation of weight status was associated with higher overall QoL for obese males and females and for overweight males. Overestimation of weight status was associated with higher overall QoL for underweight females and lower overall QoL for healthy weight males and females. The same pattern was seen for psychosocial QoL. Physical QoL was less sensitive to misperception than psychosocial QoL. Conclusions: Self-reported misperception around weight status is associated with overall, psychosocial and to a lesser extent physical QoL in Australian adults, although its role depends on BMI category and gender. Generally misperception in the direction of “healthy weight” is associated with higher QoL and overestimation of weight status by those who are of healthy weight is associated with lower QoL. Findings should be confirmed in datasets that contain measured as opposed to self-report height and weight.
Keywords: Obesity; perceived weight; predictors of quality-of-life; public health
Description: Published online: 21 March 2017
Rights: © The Author(s). 2017 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
RMID: 0030098635
DOI: 10.1186/s12955-017-0627-7
Grant ID:
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