Assessing the accuracy of two proxy measures for BMI in a semi-rural, low-resource setting in Guatemala

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14 Scopus citations


Background: Validation studies of self-reported BMI are limited to populations in high-income countries or urban settings. Here, we assess the accuracy of two proxy measures of measured height, weight and BMI - self-reported values and the Stunkard figure scale - in a semi-rural population in Guatemala.

Methods. Self-reported values and Stunkard figure selection were elicited prior to biometric measurements from a total of 175 non-pregnant women recruited based on a stratified random sample of households, with 92 women providing full data for validation across measures.

Results: 86.3% of participants self-reported weight and 62.3% height. Among those responding, self-reported weight is highly accurate though lower relationships for height contribute to error in reported BMI. The Stunkard scale has a higher response rate (97.1%) and while less accurate in predicting BMI values, more accurately predicts BMI categories.

Conclusions: Self-reported measures are more accurate than the Stunkard scale in estimating BMI values, while the latter is more accurate in estimating BMI categories. High non-response rates and lower correlations between reported and measured height caution against using self-reported biometric data other than raw weight in low-resource settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number973
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 19 2014


  • Body mass index
  • Low-income country
  • Obesity
  • Self-report
  • Silhouettes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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