Beyond adolescence: Exploring Canadian women and men’s perception of overweight
Authors: E. Gucciardi, S. C. Wang, T. Badiani, and D. E. Stewart
Purpose. The research literature strongly corroborates that desires and attempts to lose weight are more prevalent among women who are already within the healthy weight range than men. The development of a distorted weight perception, specifically an overestimation of one’s body size, may manifest into caloric restriction and other disordered eating behaviors. However, there is no systematic process to monitor the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors in Canada. The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence and the sociodemographic characteristics of Canadian adults who have a perception of being overweight when their body mass index indicates that they are normal or underweight based on self-reported heights and weights. Methods. The responses to the 2000/2001 Canadian Community Health Survey by a representative sample of Canadians between the ages of 20 and 64 were analyzed. Bivariate and logistic regression analyses were performed. Results. The prevalence of perceiving oneself as overweight when at acceptable weight for height was 23.6% for women and 7.8% for men. The probability was significantly greater in women, some foreign-born residents, those with a higher income level, and with increasing age. Conclusions. These results suggest that, in contrast to mainstream thinking, distorted weight perception is experienced by adult and aging women, and not only by adolescent girls. More research is needed to understand why distorted weight perception increases with age in women and what potential adverse effects it may have in this population.
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