Recruitment into diabetes prevention programs: what is the impact of errors in self-reported measures of obesity?

Andrea Hernan, Benjamin Philpot, Edward Janus, James Dunbar

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Error in self-reported measures of obesity has been frequently described, but the effect of self-reported error on recruitment into diabetes prevention programs is not well established. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of using self-reported obesity data from the Finnish diabetes risk score (FINDRISC) on recruitment into the Greater Green Triangle Diabetes Prevention Project (GGT DPP). Methods. The GGT DPP was a structured group-based lifestyle modification program delivered in primary health care settings in South-Eastern Australia. Between 2004-05, 850 FINDRISC forms were collected during recruitment for the GGT DPP. Eligible individuals, at moderate to high risk of developing diabetes, were invited to undertake baseline tests, including anthropometric measurements performed by specially trained nurses. In addition to errors in calculating total risk scores, accuracy of self-reported data (height, weight, waist circumference (WC) and Body Mass Index (BMI)) from FINDRISCs was compared with baseline data, with impact on participation eligibility presented. Results: Overall, calculation errors impacted on eligibility in 18 cases (2.1%). Of n=279 GGT DPP participants with measured data, errors (total score calculation, BMI or WC) in self-report were found in n=90 (32.3%). These errors were equally likely to result in under- or over-reported risk. Under-reporting was more common in those reporting lower risk scores (Spearman-rho=0.226, p-value<0.001). However, underestimation resulted in only 6% of individuals at high risk of diabetes being incorrectly categorised as moderate or low risk of diabetes. Conclusions: Overall FINDRISC was found to be an effective tool to screen and recruit participants at moderate to high risk of diabetes, accurately categorising levels of overweight and obesity using self-report data. The results could be generalisable to other diabetes prevention programs using screening tools which include self-reported levels of obesity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number510
    Number of pages7
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • BMI
    • Prevention programs
    • Recruitment
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Waist circumference
    • Weight misperception


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