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      Body Size Estimation from Early to Middle Childhood: Stability of Underestimation, BMI, and Gender Effects

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          Individuals who are overweight are more likely to underestimate their body size than those who are normal weight, and overweight underestimators are less likely to engage in weight loss efforts. Underestimation of body size might represent a barrier to prevention and treatment of overweight; thus insight in how underestimation of body size develops and tracks through the childhood years is needed. The aim of the present study was therefore to examine stability in children’s underestimation of body size, exploring predictors of underestimation over time. The prospective path from underestimation to BMI was also tested. In a Norwegian cohort of 6 year olds, followed up at ages 8 and 10 (analysis sample: n = 793) body size estimation was captured by the Children’s Body Image Scale, height and weight were measured and BMI calculated. Overall, children were more likely to underestimate than overestimate their body size. Individual stability in underestimation was modest, but significant. Higher BMI predicted future underestimation, even when previous underestimation was adjusted for, but there was no evidence for the opposite direction of influence. Boys were more likely than girls to underestimate their body size at ages 8 and 10 (age 8: 38.0% vs. 24.1%; Age 10: 57.9% vs. 30.8%) and showed a steeper increase in underestimation with age compared to girls. In conclusion, the majority of 6, 8, and 10-year olds correctly estimate their body size (prevalence ranging from 40 to 70% depending on age and gender), although a substantial portion perceived themselves to be thinner than they actually were. Higher BMI forecasted future underestimation, but underestimation did not increase the risk for excessive weight gain in middle childhood.

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          More than one-third of adults and 17% of youth in the United States are obese, although the prevalence remained stable between 2003-2004 and 2009-2010. To provide the most recent national estimates of childhood obesity, analyze trends in childhood obesity between 2003 and 2012, and provide detailed obesity trend analyses among adults. Weight and height or recumbent length were measured in 9120 participants in the 2011-2012 nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. In infants and toddlers from birth to 2 years, high weight for recumbent length was defined as weight for length at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts. In children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years, obesity was defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the sex-specific CDC BMI-for-age growth charts. In adults, obesity was defined as a BMI greater than or equal to 30. Analyses of trends in high weight for recumbent length or obesity prevalence were conducted overall and separately by age across 5 periods (2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2011-2012). In 2011-2012, 8.1% (95% CI, 5.8%-11.1%) of infants and toddlers had high weight for recumbent length, and 16.9% (95% CI, 14.9%-19.2%) of 2- to 19-year-olds and 34.9% (95% CI, 32.0%-37.9%) of adults (age-adjusted) aged 20 years or older were obese. Overall, there was no significant change from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 in high weight for recumbent length among infants and toddlers, obesity in 2- to 19-year-olds, or obesity in adults. Tests for an interaction between survey period and age found an interaction in children (P = .03) and women (P = .02). There was a significant decrease in obesity among 2- to 5-year-old children (from 13.9% to 8.4%; P = .03) and a significant increase in obesity among women aged 60 years and older (from 31.5% to 38.1%; P = .006). Overall, there have been no significant changes in obesity prevalence in youth or adults between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012. Obesity prevalence remains high and thus it is important to continue surveillance.
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            Statistical procedures for missing data have vastly improved, yet misconception and unsound practice still abound. The authors frame the missing-data problem, review methods, offer advice, and raise issues that remain unresolved. They clear up common misunderstandings regarding the missing at random (MAR) concept. They summarize the evidence against older procedures and, with few exceptions, discourage their use. They present, in both technical and practical language, 2 general approaches that come highly recommended: maximum likelihood (ML) and Bayesian multiple imputation (MI). Newer developments are discussed, including some for dealing with missing data that are not MAR. Although not yet in the mainstream, these procedures may eventually extend the ML and MI methods that currently represent the state of the art.
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              Overweight and obesity in youth are important public health concerns and are of particular interest because of possible long-term associations with adult weight status and morbidity. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature and update evidence concerning persistence of childhood overweight. A computerized bibliographical search--restricted to studies with a prospective or retrospective longitudinal design--was conducted. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed the methodological quality of the included studies in four dimensions (i) study population and participation rate; (ii) study attrition; (iii) data collection and (iv) data analysis. Conclusions were based on a rating system of three levels of evidence. A total of 25 publications were selected for inclusion in this review. According to a methodological quality assessment, 13 studies were considered to be of high quality. The majority of these high-quality studies were published after 2001, indicating that recently published data, in particular, provide us with reliable information. All included studies consistently report an increased risk of overweight and obese youth becoming overweight adults, suggesting that the likelihood of persistence of overweight into adulthood is moderate for overweight and obese youth. However, predictive values varied considerably. Limiting aspects with respect to generalizability and methodological issues are discussed.

                Author and article information

                Front Psychol
                Front Psychol
                Front. Psychol.
                Frontiers in Psychology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                21 November 2017
                : 8
                1Department of Psychology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology , Trondheim, Norway
                2Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds , Leeds, United Kingdom
                3Human Development, NTNU Social Research , Trondheim, Norway
                Author notes

                Edited by: Kelly Costello Allison, University of Pennsylvania, United States

                Reviewed by: Naiman A. Khan, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, United States; Michelle R. Lent, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, United States

                *Correspondence: Silje Steinsbekk, silje.steinsbekk@

                This article was submitted to Eating Behavior, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology

                Copyright © 2017 Steinsbekk, Klöckner, Fildes, Kristoffersen, Rognsås and Wichstrøm.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 52, Pages: 8, Words: 0
                Funded by: Norges Forskningsråd 10.13039/501100005416
                Award ID: 213793
                Original Research


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