Abstract 1475: Misperception of Ideal Body Size in the Dallas Heart Study: A Novel Target to Combat Obesity
Background: Little is known about how misperception of ideal body size may impact obesity and cardiovascular risk.
Methods: Self-perceived actual and ideal body size were surveyed in 5893 participants from the Dallas Heart Study, a probability-based sample of Dallas County residents, using the sex-specific Stunkard nine-figure scale (higher value=larger body size). Ideal body size was classified as below normal (scale figures 1–2), normal (scale figures 3–5), and above normal (scale figures 6 –9). Body size discrepancy was calculated as the difference between self-perceived actual and ideal body sizes.
Results: On average, subjects with a below normal or normal ideal body size perceived themselves as larger than their ideal body size. In contrast, subjects with an above normal ideal body size perceived themselves as smaller than their ideal size (Figure⇓). Compared with subjects with normal ideal body size, those with above normal ideal body size were more likely to be women (55% vs. 52%, p<0.0001) and African American (72% vs. 56%, p<0.0001), and had higher BMI (33 vs. 28 kg/m2, p=<0.0001), systolic blood pressure (130 vs. 127 mmHg, p=0.02), and higher insulin resistance (HOMA-IR 3.49 vs. 3.04 units, p=0.05).
Conclusions: A misperception of ideal body size favoring obesity identifies people who are already more likely to be obese and to have a higher risk factor burden, and more importantly, who believe they are actually smaller than their ideal body size. Understanding and countering this misperception is a novel and perhaps vitally important target for obesity prevention and treatment.