Magazine article USA TODAY

Americans Telling Tall Tales about Their Height

Magazine article USA TODAY

Americans Telling Tall Tales about Their Height

Article excerpt

A study by researchers at the Saint Louis (Mo.) University School of Allied Health Professions reveals that many individuals are lying about their height, claiming to be taller. Adding this information to the already documented fibs on weight is leading experts to wonder if Americans are more obese than previously suspected and reported.

William D. Hart, professor of nutrition and dietetics, indicates that people in every age category, male and female, claimed to be taller than their actual height. All of the data was collected using "self-reporting" measures. That is, a researcher would call and ask a person to report his or her height and weight. These figures were then compiled into a large data set to gauge Americans' rate of obesity.

The overreporting of height, as well as underreporting of weight, was confirmed by researchers who compared the self-reported figures to a different data collection method called the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, wherein subjects were weighed on a scale and measured with a ruler.

The significance of the findings is most relevant for researchers trying to evaluate nutritional and health risks of large-scale assessments in groups of people. …

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