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Example of problems with self-report data: reported differences in BMI in the US

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Dolphin, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Dolphin

    Dolphin Senior Member

    Lay article on this:


    Valentijn and Simon like this.
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member


    I wonder what results we would get if we were to randomize a group of obese people into two groups, one of which was told that obesity was a result of their behaviour and something they could and should control and that failure to do so indicates mental health problems which need treating; and one of which was told that obesity was largely a result of genetics and hormonal factors which were poorly understood and largely outside of their control - and both groups were asked to self-report their weight immediately after the talk. My suspicion is that this psychosocial education would lead to significant self-reported weight loss.

    Actually, I think Wessely may have approvingly cited a similar study:

    The Wessely paper is available here:

    I've still not read the cited paper... it's on my list of things to do.
  3. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

    For starters, your weight will come out differently depending on whether you're taking it or your doctor is taking it. People who are taking their weight at home tend to do so first thing in the morning, after going to the toilet but before eating, without any clothes on, because that's when it's lowest, and also that's when it's a more stable number. Doctors weigh you in the middle of the day, clothed, after you've eaten a meal or two.
    Valentijn likes this.

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