NCHS Releases Data on Weight Misperception in Children, Sexual Orientation-Based Health Disparities

A recent National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) data brief looks at children’s (8-15 years old) misperception of their weight status. When asked if they felt they were too thin, overweight, or about right, 30 percent of children’s responses did not match their weight status. This misperception was more common among boys (32.2 percent) than girls (28 percent). Seventy-six percent of overweight children and 41.9 percent of obese children described themselves as “about right.” Nearly half (48.5 percent) of underweight children also described themselves as “about right.” More than 12 percent of healthy weight children (over 2 million) believed themselves to be too thin or too fat. Weight misperception also varied by race and ethnicity; it was higher among non-Hispanic black (34.4 percent) and Mexican-American (34 percent) children than non-Hispanic white children (27.7 percent). The data comes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005-2012.

NCHS has also released its first sexual orientation-based health data, drawn from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), as a new National Health Statistics Report, Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2013. Based on interviews with adults ages 18-64, the report indicates that 96.6 percent of adults identified as straight, 1.6 percent as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent as bisexual, with the remainder answering “don’t know,” “something else,” or refusing to answer. The report found higher rates of smoking and binge drinking among gay or lesbian and bisexual adults. Overall, there were no significant differences between straight-identified and lesbian-, gay-, or bisexual-identified adults based on physical activity, self-reported health, or uninsurance rates (although there was some variation by gender). A higher percentage of gay and lesbian adults received an influenza vaccine (42.9 percent) than straight adults (35 percent).

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