Korean J Obes.  2009 Sep;18(3):116-122.

Perception of Obesity and Its Related Factors

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Gachon University Gil Hospital, Korea. zaduplum@gilhospital.com
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, National Health Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital, Korea.


When obese people fail to properly perceive their body size, it leads to lack of motivation for adequate lifestyle modification needed for improvement of weight and health status. This study investigated how obese people perceive their body size, factors influencing misperception, and their attempts at lifestyle modification.
A total of 1,296 subjects were enrolled since March to June 2009 from two separate health promotion centers belonging to different general hospitals located in Incheon and Gyeonggi-do. The subjects were composed of 413 obese subjects (body mass index > or = 25 kg/m2) and 277 centrally obese subjects (waist circumference > or = 90 cm for men, 85 cm for women). The subjects' perception of their body size and their attempts at lifestyle modification were investigated.
In cases of proper body size perception, 54.7% of obese and 43.7% of centrally obese persons had attempted a lifestyle modification. However, in cases of misperception, only 6.5% of obese and 12.5% of centrally obese persons had attempted lifestyle modification. Among the obese group, those over 65 year-old (odds ratio [OR] 5.22; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21-3.98) and males (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.56-17.46) tended to have a misperception concerning their weight status compared to those under 35 years and females. In contrast, metabolic syndrome patients manifested low level of misperception (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35-0.94). Among the centrally obese group, there were no meaningful factors related to misperception.
In obese population, misperception of body size was strongly related to low proportion of attempts at lifestyle modification. Factors such as 'old age', 'male' and 'no metabolic syndrome' were related to misperception of body size.


Obesity; Central obesity; Perception; Metabolic syndrome; Lifestyle modification
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