Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Body mass index and asthma among Mexican adults: the effect of using self-reported vs measured weight and height


Several recent studies have demonstrated a positive association between obesity and asthma among women but not men. The present study examines the effect of misclassification of body mass indes (BMI) in the association between obesity and asthma by gender. This cross-sectional analysis included a total sample of 961 Mexican adults. Use of measured BMI revealed that obesity (BMI >30 kg/m2) was a risk factor for asthma diagnosis in both men (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.1–5.9) and women (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5–3.8). In contrast, use of self-reported BMI showed that only women (OR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.1–2.7) and not men (OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.6–2.9) were at increased risk of asthma diagnosis. Use of self-reported BMI substantially underestimated the prevalence of obesity; this bias was not related to asthma per se but was mainly due to obesity. Therefore, misclassification of BMI obscured the relationship between obesity and asthma to a greater extent among men than among women since obesity prevalence in the general population was higher among men. Measurement bias merits greater attention in future research on obesity and asthma.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. World Health Organization. Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO Consultation on Obesity, 3–5 June 1997. World Health Organization: Geneva; 1998.

  2. Camargo Jr CA, Weiss ST, Zhang S, Willett WC, Speizer FE . Prospective study of body mass index, weight change, and risk of adult-onset asthma in women. Arch Intern Med 1999; 159: 2582–2588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Shaheen SO, Sterne JAC, Montgomery SM, Azima H . Birth weight, body mass index and asthma in young adults. Thorax 1999; 54: 396–402.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Chen Y, Dales R, Krewski D, Breithaupt K . Increased effects of smoking and obesity on asthma among female Canadians: the National Population Health Survey, 1994–1995. Am J Epidemiol 1999; 150: 255–262.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Luder E, Melnik TA . Obesity is associated with increased risk of asthma in adult females but not in males. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000; 161: A497.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Chen Y, Dales R, Tang M, Krewski D . Obesity may increase the incidence of asthma in women but not in men: longitudinal observations from the Canadian national population health surveys. Am J Epidemiol 2002; 155: 191–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Beckett WS, Jacobs Jr DR, Yu X, Iribarren C, Williams D . Asthma is associated with weight gain in females but not males, independent of physical activity. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2001; 164: 2045–2050.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Rimm EB, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Chute CG, Litin LB, Willett WC . Validity of self-reported waist and hip circumferences in men and women. Epidemiology 1990; 1: 466–473.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Bolton-Smith C, Woodward M, Tunstall-Pedoe H, Morrison C . Accuracy of the estimated prevalence of obesity from self-reported height and weight in an adult Scottish population. J Epidemiol Community Health 2000; 54: 143–148.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Niedhammer I, Bugel I, Bonenfant S, Goldberg M, Leclere A . Validity of self-reported weight and height in the French GAZEL cohort. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2000; 24: 1111–1118.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Roberts RJ . Can self-reported data accurately describe the prevalence of overweight? Public Health 1995; 109: 275–284.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Alvarez-Torices JC, Franch-Nadal J, Alvarez-Guisasola F, Hernandez-Mejia, Cueto-Espinar . Self-reported height and weight and prevalence of obesity. Study in a Spanish population. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1993; 17: 663–667.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Stewart AW, Jackson RT, Ford MA, Beaglehole R . Underestimation of relative weight by use of self-reported height and weight. Am J Epidemiol 1987; 125: 122–126.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Nieto-Garcia FJ, Bush TL, Keyl PM . Body mass definitions of obesity: sensitivity and specificity using self-reported weight and height. Epidemiology 1990; 1: 146–152.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Hill A, Roberts J . Body mass index: a comparison between self-reported and measured height and weight. J Public Health Med 1998; 20: 206–210.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Aguilar-Salinas CA, Vazquez-Chavez C, Gamboa-Marrufo R, Garcia-Soto N, Rios-Gonzalez JJ, Holguin R, Vela S, Ruiz-Alvarez F, Mayagoitia S . Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco consumption in an urban adult Mexican population. Arch Med Res 2001; 32: 446–453.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported, in part, by grant HL-63841 from the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to C A Camargo Jr.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Santillan, A., Camargo, C. Body mass index and asthma among Mexican adults: the effect of using self-reported vs measured weight and height. Int J Obes 27, 1430–1433 (2003).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


This article is cited by


Quick links