Objective: To examine the accuracy of self-perception of weight gain and its correlates in a multiethnic reproductive-age population of women. Methods: A total of 608 women (balanced by contraceptive methods and race/ethnicity) self-reported their perceptions of weight gain at baseline and every 6 months thereafter for 36 months. Data regarding body weight, height, and other covariates were also obtained. Women with at least two follow-up visits were included in the final analysis. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) models were used to examine correlates of the accuracy of self-perception of weight gain over time. Results: Overall, 466 women had at least two follow-up visits with 1744 total observations over 36 months. In total, 44%, 30%, 19%, 12%, and 8% observations had at least 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 kg weight gain in 6 months while 59%, 67%, 73%, 78%, and 85% of women accurately recognized it, respectively. Depot medroxyprogesterone (DMPA) users were more likely than nonhormonal method users (69%/51%, 76%/59%, 81%/63%, 85%/59%, and 93%/71%), and blacks more likely than whites (70%/51%, 76%/59%, 83%/65%, 90%/68%, and 95%/78%) (p<0.05 for all) to recognize weight gains of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 kg. The differences remained significant after adjusting for covariates using GEE. A significant difference was also observed between DMPA and oral contraceptive users. Conclusions: Inability to recognize weight gain is common among young women. Both race/ethnicity and contraceptive methods influence the accurate perception of weight gain. Clinicians should provide patient-specific counseling to address the frequent inaccuracies to recognize weight gain.
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