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BMC Public Health

, 11:213

First Online: 05 April 2011Received: 12 January 2011Accepted: 05 April 2011DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-11-213

Cite this article as: Bes-Rastrollo, M., Sabaté, J., Jaceldo-Siegl, K. et al. BMC Public Health 2011 11: 213. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-11-213


BackgroundRelying on self-reported anthropometric data is often the only feasible way of studying large populations. In this context, there are no studies assessing the validity of anthropometrics in a mostly vegetarian population. The objective of this study was to evaluate the validity of self-reported anthropometrics in the Adventist Health Study 2 AHS-2.

MethodsWe selected a representative sample of 911 participants of AHS-2, a cohort of over 96,000 adult Adventists in the USA and Canada. Then we compared their measured weight and height with those self-reported at baseline. We calculated the validity of the anthropometrics as continuous variables, and as categorical variables for the definition of obesity.

ResultsOn average, participants underestimated their weight by 0.20 kg, and overestimated their height by 1.57 cm resulting in underestimation of body mass index BMI by 0.61 kg-m. The agreement between self-reported and measured BMI as a continuous variable, as estimated by intraclass correlation coefficient, was 0.97. The sensitivity of self-reported BMI to detect obesity was 0.81, the specificity 0.97, the predictive positive value 0.93, the predictive negative value 0.92, and the Kappa index 0.81. The percentage of absolute agreement for each category of BMI normoweight, overweight, and obese was 83.4%. After multivariate analyses, predictors of differences between self-reported and measured BMI were obesity, soy consumption and the type of dietary pattern.

ConclusionsSelf-reported anthropometric data showed high validity in a representative subsample of the AHS-2 being valid enough to be used in epidemiological studies, although it can lead to some underestimation of obesity.

AbbreviationsBMIBody Mass Index

AHS-2Adventists Health Study 2

95% CI95% Confidence Interval

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-11-213 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Maira Bes-Rastrollo - Joan Sabaté - Karen Jaceldo-Siegl - Gary E Fraser


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