Validity of self-reported weight, height, and body mass index among African American breast cancer survivors

Bo Qin, Adana A.M. Llanos, Yong Lin, Elizabeth A. Szamreta, Jesse J. Plascak, Hannah Oh, Karen Pawlish, Christine B. Ambrosone, Kitaw Demissie, Chi Chen Hong, Elisa V. Bandera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Self-reported weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) are commonly used in cancer epidemiology studies, but information on the validity of self-reports among cancer survivors is lacking. This study aimed to evaluate the validity of these self-reported measures among African American (AA) breast cancer survivors, known to have high obesity prevalence. Methods: We compared the self-reported and measured values among 243 participants from the Women’s Circle of Health Follow-Up Study (WCHFS), a population-based longitudinal study of AA breast cancer survivors. Multivariable-adjusted linear regressions were used to identify factors associated with reporting errors. We also examined the associations of self-reported and measured BMI with obesity-related health outcomes using multivariable logistic regressions, with hypertension as an example, to evaluate the impact of misreporting. Results: We found that self-reported and measured values were highly correlated among all and when stratified by participants’ characteristics (intraclass correlation coefficients ≥ 0.99, 0.84, and 0.96 for weight, height, and BMI, respectively). The agreement between BMI categories (normal, overweight and obese) based on self-reported and measured data was excellent (kappa = 0.81). Women who were older, never smoked, had higher grade tumors, or had greater BMI tended to have overestimated BMI calculated from self-reported weight and height. The BMI-hypertension association was similar using self-reported (OR per 5 kg/m2 increase 1.63; 95% CI 1.27–2.10) and measured BMI (1.58; 95% CI 1.23–2.03). Conclusions: Self-reported weight, height, and BMI were reasonably accurate in the WCHFS. Implications for Cancer Survivors: Our study supports the use of these self-reported values among cancer survivors when direct measurements are not possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-468
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes


  • African American
  • Body mass index
  • Cancer survivors
  • Self-report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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