Weight Misperception and Health-Related Quality of Life in Appalachian Adolescents in the United States

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Introduction There is limited research on the relation between weight misperceptions and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among U.S. adolescents. Methods Baseline data (n = 1509) collected in 2012 from the Team Up for Healthy Living project were used. Measures included BMI percentiles calculated from measured height and weight; self-perception of weight status; and the 23-item PedsQL™ Inventory. Multiple linear regression was performed after adjustment for covariates to examine associations between weight misperception and HRQoL. Results Compared to accurate weight perception, weight underestimation was associated with higher total HRQoL (β = 2.41), physical health (β = 2.77), and emotional (β = 2.83), social (β = 2.47) and psychosocial functioning (β = 2.38) (all p < 0.05). Weight overestimation was associated with lower social functioning (β = −13.13, p < 0.05). Stratified by gender, associations were observed only in males. Discussion Weight underestimation had greater association with HRQoL than weight overestimation; and varied by gender. Better understanding of these associations will assist in improving the health of adolescents in Southern Appalachia.