Role of anthropometric factors, self-perception, and diet on weight misperception among young adolescents: a cross-sectional study

  • Silvio BuscemiEmail author
  • Stefano Marventano
  • Sabrina Castellano
  • Francesca Nolfo
  • Stefania Rametta
  • Gabriele Giorgianni
  • Margherita Matalone
  • Marina Marranzano
  • Antonio Mistretta
Original Article



Adolescence overweight and obesity have increased considerably, and the misperception of their weight status could reduce the efficiency of intervention programs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence rate of misperception and to assess the relationship between weight perception and anthropometric parameters, self-perception, physical activity, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet.


A total of 1643 young adolescents (11–16 years old) were surveyed in a cross-sectional investigation during two scholastic years (period October–May of 2012–2013 and 2013–2014) in 15 secondary schools of Sicily, southern Italy. Data on demographic information, anthropometric characteristics (bioelectrical impedance), physical activity level, The Children and Youth Physical Self-Perception Profile, weight perception, and dietary habits (KIDMED) were collected.


Misperception was found in the 27.6 % of the young adolescents, and boys were more likely to underestimate their weight status, while girls had a high percentage of overestimation. The strong association with weight misperception was with socioeconomic status, waist circumference, physical activities, and physical self-worth. Moreover, a good adherence to the Mediterranean diet was inversely associated with both overestimation and underestimation in both boys and girls.


These findings highlight that almost one-third of the participants had a weight misperception that was associated with several anthropometric, social, and lifestyle factors. Future intervention to prevent overweight and obesity should consider not only gender-specific differences, but also parental SES, perception, and satisfaction of body weight status.


Adolescents Obesity KIDMED BMI Body satisfaction Weight perceptions 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in this study were approved by the ethics committee of the University of Catania and the Department of School Policies of Catania.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© European Union 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvio Buscemi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefano Marventano
    • 2
  • Sabrina Castellano
    • 3
  • Francesca Nolfo
    • 2
  • Stefania Rametta
    • 2
  • Gabriele Giorgianni
    • 2
  • Margherita Matalone
    • 4
  • Marina Marranzano
    • 2
  • Antonio Mistretta
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratorio di Nutrizione Clinica, Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (DIBIMIS), P. Giaccone PoliclinicoUniversity of PalermoPalermoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia”, Section of Hygiene and Preventive MedicineUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Section of Pharmacology and BiochemistryUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  4. 4.Department of School PoliciesMunicipality of CataniaCataniaItaly

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