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Abstract

Background: The assessment of height and weight (body mass) are common components of the medical examination, often requisite subject characteristics collected for research, and frequently used in the writing of life and medical insurance policies. These measurements may be gathered by actual measurement procedures or through patient self-report. Purpose: The purposes of this study were to 1) determine if significant differences exist between self-reported and measured height and body mass, 2) determine the influence of gender on differences between self-reported and actual measurements, and 3) determine the range of differences (levels of agreement) that may exist between self-reported and actual measurements. Subjects: A convenience sample of one hundred and two participants, 48 men and 54 women, were recruited from a local university setting. Methods: Participants documented their perceived height and mass on a standardized questionnaire. This was then compared to formal measurements taken using the Cardinal/DETECTO 439 3P series scale. Results: Statistically significant differences were present between self-report and measured height and body mass when total participants were analyzed independent of gender (p≤.009). When gender was analyzed independently, significant differences were identified for men (p ≤ .004) for both height and body mass, whereas significant differences for women existed only when comparing body mass (p =.038). A trend existed for over-reporting height and under-reporting body mass. Conclusion: Although self-reported measurements are an efficient means to capture anthropometric data, evidence suggests that there may be substantial differences in self-reports versus actual measurements.

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