Weight Overestimation as a Predictor of Disordered Eating Behaviors among Young Women in the United States

Amanda R. Conley, University of Colorado at Boulder

In this paper we examine the association between weight overestimation and symptoms of disordered eating behaviors using a nationally representative sample of young women. We compare self-reported weight to measured weight among normal weight women (ages 18-24) using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (n = 2,805). We find that women who over report their weight by at least five-percent are significantly more likely than those who either under report or accurately report their weights to exhibit symptoms of disordered eating behaviors. We argue that weight over-estimation, together with other important information regarding women’s nutrition, exercise, mental health, and health-related behaviors, should be treated as an additional risk factor when considering an eating disorder diagnosis among young normal weight women.

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Presented in Poster Session 7