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Self-reported weights

Self-reported weights are valid post-bariatric surgery

Small differences between self-reported and measured weights were found and may be due to differences in clothing, inaccurate personal scales, time between measurements, or intentional misrepresentation

Self-reported weights following bariatric surgery were close to measured weights, suggesting that self-reported weights used in studies are accurate enough to be used when measured weights are not available, according to a Research Letter published online by JAMA.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigated whether self-reported weights following bariatric surgery differed from weights obtained by study personnel using a standard scale. They used data collected between April 2010 and November 2012 at annual assessments from the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2, an observational cohort study of 2,458 adults undergoing an initial Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), laparoscopic adjustable gastric band (LAGB), or other bariatric procedure at ten centres.

Participants were sent mailed questionnaires each year and asked to report their: (1) weight from last medical office or weight loss program visit (self-reported medical weight) and (2) last self-weighing (self-reported personal weight).

The final analysis included 988 participants, including 164 with a self-reported medical weight, 580 with a self-reported personal weight, and 244 with both self-reported weights.

Across the two groups who self-reported weight, women and men underreported their weight by an average 2.2lbs. or less and the degree of underreporting was not different between women and men. Self-reported medical weights were closer to measured weights than were self-reported personal weights for both women and men.

"Small differences between self-reported and measured weights were found and may be due to differences in clothing, inaccurate personal scales, time between measurements, or intentional misrepresentation," the authors write. "Self-reported weights after bariatric surgery may be more accurate because participants who undergo surgery to lose weight may be especially attentive to their weight."

“In conclusion, self-reported weights following bariatric surgery were close to measured weights. This suggests that self-reported weights may not unduly affect study results of surgically induced weight change and can be used when measured weights are not available.”

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