Skip navigation

Accuracy of on-line self-reported weights and heights by young adults

Accuracy of on-line self-reported weights and heights by young adults

Nikolaou, Charoula Konstantia ORCID: 0000-0001-6519-4174, Hankey, Catherine Ruth and Lean, Michael Ernest John (2017) Accuracy of on-line self-reported weights and heights by young adults. European journal of Public Health, 27 (5). pp. 898-903. ISSN 1101-1262 (Print), 1464-360X (Online) (doi:

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


e-epidemiology, a convenient and low-cost research method, is becoming increasingly popular. This study seeks to validate on-line self-reported heights and weights against objectively measured data in young adults.

Young adults self-reported heights and weights in an on-line lifestyle survey. These were validated using two methods: (i) measurements by staff at the primary-care clinic and (ii) measurements by a researcher within two weeks of distribution of the survey. Analyses were conducted to determine differences between the self-reported and measured heights and weights and to identify characteristics associated with under- or over-reporting of these.

From a total of 23 010 young adults invited to the survey, 24% provided on-line data, mean age = 19.2 (SD 3.2) years, 43% male, 91% EU citizens. Both self-reported and measured data were available for 1446 individuals (547 men, 896 women and mean age 19.2 (SD2.6) years); 1278 validated using medical records, 168 by researcher measurements. Intra-class correlations between self-reported and measured parameters were weight (r = 0.99), height (r = 0.98), with acceptable levels of agreement between measured and self-reported weight, height and BMI using Bland & Altman analyses. Self-reported weight was underestimated uniformly across BMI categories, gender and ethnicity, by a mean −0.4 (SD 0.4) kg (P < 0.001). Height was accurately reported overall across BMI and gender: both self-reported and measured heights =1.72 (SD 0.01) m, P = 0.783. Discrepancies between methods caused misclassification of BMI category for 17 (1.8%) of participants.

Engagement of young adults with on-line research is encouraging. On-line self-reporting provides acceptably reliable anthropometric data for young adults, with under-reporting of weight by just 0.4 kg.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: self-reported, agreement, weights, heights, young people, online
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2020 16:08

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item