Most Americans underestimate weight and exaggerate height, study finds


When asked, most Americans underestimate their weight and overestimate their height, according to a new study.

Whites are more likely to do so than Blacks or Hispanics, the study — which appears in the journal Ethnicity & Disease — found.

The study relied on data from the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and looked at reports from 2,672 men and 2,671 women, according to the Times of India, citing Newswise.

Ming Wen, lead author from the University of Utah, and her colleague, Lori Kowaleski-Jones, Ph.D.:

found that in all ethnic groups, both men and women overestimate their height. Women also under-report their BMI more than men do, and White women are more likely to do so compared to Black and Hispanic women. 

The authors speculated this was because White women had a stronger social “desire for a lean body” and were more acutely aware of their weight problems, according to Medical Xpress.

Many surveys about body weight rely on participants to report their height and weight, Medical Xpress wrote, "because it is less expensive and easier than measuring."

Wen said she didn’t believe the practice makes a huge impact on how we view the nation’s obesity numbers.

“In terms of studies examining risk factors of obesity, I don’t think the under-reporting is a huge problem,” she reportedly said.

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