Weight misperception among young adults with overweight/obesity associated with disordered eating behaviors


Sonneville, Kendrin R.; Thurston, Idia B.; Milliren, Carly E.; Gooding, Holly C.; & Richmond, Tracy K. (2016). Weight misperception among young adults with overweight/obesity associated with disordered eating behaviors. International Journal of Eating Disorders. vol. 49 (10) pp. 937-946


Objective The purpose of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association between weight misperception among young adults with overweight/obesity and disordered eating behaviors. Method In a subsample of young adults with overweight or obesity participating in Wave III (2001–2002) of The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (n = 5,184), we examined the cross-sectional association between weight under-perception (i.e., perceiving oneself to be at a healthy body weight or underweight) and disordered eating (fasting/meal skipping for weight control, purging/pills for weight control, overeating/loss of control eating, and use of performance-enhancing products/substances). Results About 20% of young adult females under-perceived their weight compared to 48% of males. Individuals who misperceived their weight as healthy were significantly less likely to report fasting/meal skipping (Females: OR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.14–0.43; Males: OR: 0.31, 95% CI: 0.20–0.48) and vomiting or taking diet pills/laxatives/diuretics (Females: OR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.04–0.25; Males: OR: 0.10, 95% CI: 0.04–0.25) for weight control. Among females, those who misperceived their weight status as healthy were also less likely to report overeating or loss of control eating (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.24–0.71). Greater use of performance-enhancing products/substances was seen among males who under-perceived their weight as healthy (OR: 2.06, 95% CI: 1.57–2.72) and among both females (OR: 2.29, 95% CI: 1.40–20.0) and males (OR: 2.27, 95% CI: 1.13–4.55) who perceived themselves to be underweight. Discussion Weight under-perception among young adults with overweight/obesity may convey some benefit related to disordered eating behaviors, but could be a risk factor for the use of performance-enhancing products/substances. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.(Int J Eat Disord 2016)




weight perception weight misperception overweight obesity eating disorders disordered eating

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

International Journal of Eating Disorders


Sonneville, Kendrin R.
Thurston, Idia B.
Milliren, Carly E.
Gooding, Holly C.
Richmond, Tracy K.

Year Published


Volume Number


Issue Number





May 24, 2016





Reference ID