Background: In adults, body weight tends to be underestimated when based on self-reported data. Whether this discrepancy between measured and reported data exists in healthy young children is unclear. We studied whether parental reported body weight and height of 4-year-old children corresponded with measured body weight and height. In addition, we studied the determinants and the consequences of differences between reported and measured data. Methods: Data on body weight and height of 864 4-year-old Dutch children born in 1996/1997 enrolled in the Prevention and Incidence of Asthma and Mite Allergy (PIAMA) birth cohort study were collected via a questionnaire and a medical examination. Overweight was defined according to standard international age and gender specific definitions. Results: Mean differences between measured and reported body weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) were small. Parents of children with a low BMI tended to over report body weight while parents of children with a high BMI tended to underreport body weight. Whereas 9.5% of the children were overweight according to reported BMI, the prevalence of overweight was 13.4% based on measured BMI. Over 45% of the overweight children according to measured BMI were missed when reported BMI was used. Conclusion: These findings suggest that overweight prevalence rates in children are underestimated when based on reported weight and height.

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European Journal of Public Health
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Scholtens, S., Brunekreef, B., Visscher, T., Smit, H., Kerkhof, M., de Jongste, J., … Wijga, A. (2007). Reported versus measured body weight and height of 4-year-old children and the prevalence of overweight. European Journal of Public Health, 17(4), 369–374. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckl253