Background. Although actual and perceived obesity are associated, some research has shown that this association may differ across racial and ethnic groups.
Purpose. This cross-sectional study tested racial differences in the association between actual and perceived obesity among American adults.
Methods. The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 5- Cycle 3) is a representative survey of American adults. A total number of 3731 adults entered our analysis, which was composed of 3054 (81.9%) non-Hispanic Whites and 677 (18.1%) AAs. The independent variable was actual obesity. The outcome was perceived obesity. Age, gender, marital status, education, and income were the control variables (confounders). Race was the effect modifier. Logistic regressions without and with interaction terms were utilized to analyze the data.
Results. Overall, actual and perceived obesity were associated with individuals with obesity having higher odds of finding self as obese. Race showed a statistical interaction with actual on perceived obesity, indicating a weaker link between the two for AAs than non-Hispanic Whites. Race-stratified models also confirmed the same pattern with the actual and perceived obesity showing a weaker association for AAs than non-Hispanic Whites.
Conclusions. AAs compared to non-Hispanic Whites differ in the effect of their actual obesity on their perceived obesity. This may explain the looser association of obesity and depression in AAs than Whites.