Weight perception and perceived attractiveness associated with self-rated health in young adults


Idema, Catherine L.; Roth, Sarah E.; & Upchurch, Dawn M. (2019). Weight perception and perceived attractiveness associated with self-rated health in young adults. Preventive Medicine. vol. 120 pp. 34-41


Self-rated health (SRH) is a widely used and valid marker of overall health and wellbeing and demographic differences in SRH are well-established. To date, few studies have examined how multiple components of body image shape young adults' SRH. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contributions of weight perception and perceived attractiveness on SRH among young adults. Data were from Wave IV (2007–2008) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) and young women and men ages 24–34 were analyzed (n = 7044 women, n = 6594 men) in April 2018. All analyses were weighted and stratified by gender. Design-based F test and ordinal multinomial logistic regression were used. For both genders, relative to Whites, Hispanic, Black, and Asian young adults reported poorer health; women and men with higher education and income reported better health. Independent of measured body mass index (BMI), young adults who thought they were underweight or overweight reported poorer health relative to those who thought their weight was normal. Both young women and young men who thought they were more attractive also reported better health. This study demonstrates that weight status, perceived weight status, and perceived attractiveness independently impact SRH for both young men and women controlling for race/ethnicity, nativity status, marital status, education, income, and number of health conditions.




Self-rated health

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Preventive Medicine


Idema, Catherine L.
Roth, Sarah E.
Upchurch, Dawn M.

Year Published


Volume Number





January 8, 2019



Reference ID