Weight Classification: Normal Weight to Overweight without Gaining a Pound
Nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. Overweight adolescents are at elevated risk of becoming overweight adults. However, evaluation of weight problems and weight development in adolescents is difficult. Since the CDC defines weight categories differently for adolescents than for adults, measurement issues arise. Prior to age 20, BMI is evaluated as a percentile factoring in a forecast of future weight (BMI) gain and after age 20 as a raw value. However, these standards lack consistency. At age 19 a male with a BMI of 26 is considered healthy weight, but at age 20, the same BMI is considered overweight. Which standard is correct? Which standard do adolescents use to evaluate themselves? This study explores the inconsistency in weight standards and their misalignment during the adolescent years. It examines the concordance of perceived and actual weight (BMI), using self-reported height and weight and responses to questions on perception of weight-to-height proportionality. Men and women appear to differ in the standard they use, with males seemingly using the adult standards, females the youth standards irrespective of age.