, Volume 30, Issue 7-8, pp 543-552

Gender differences in the accuracy of self-reported weight

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To investigate gender as a possible moderator of the validity of self-reported weight data in studies of body image and eating disorders, the discrepancies between reported weights and actual weights were examined in a sample of 186 college students, 90 males and 96 females. Ninety-four percent of the students were Anglo-American, and 6% were African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic. In comparison to male students, female students underreported their weight to a significantly greater degree. Generally, use of self-reported weight, rather than actual weight, would result in more subjects classified as normal weight or underweight and fewer classified as overweight, using standard methods of classifying individuals into weight categories. And consistent with previous research, normal-weight females perceived themselves as overweight while normal-weight males were more likely to perceive themselves as underweight. Implications for further research on gender differences in eating problems and body image are discussed.

To whom reprint requests should be addressed at Department of Psychology, 210 McAlester Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211.