Mil Med. 2021 Feb 25:usab085. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab085. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Weight status perception (WSP) is the subjective assessment of one’s own body weight. It is not correlated with the body mass index (BMI). People practicing sports, including overweight people, tend to perceive themselves as normal weight. The military is in a paradoxical position between the need to gain muscle mass for professional purposes while respecting BMI standards. Using body composition might be more advantageous than using BMI as part of an individual approach in making a decision about fitness to serve. However, measuring body composition is not easy in current practice, and a bridge between WSP and body composition would make it possible to develop a simple assessment tool.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a prospective, descriptive, cross-sectional study. We collected sociodemographic data, anthropometric data, and WSP.
RESULTS: Thirty-eight subjects were included. Among them, 71.1% were male. Mean age was 31.2 years (SD 8.9). The BMI was greater than 25 for 15 (39.5%) subjects. Twenty-four (63.2%) defined themselves as being overweight. Thirteen were overweight according to fat percentage (Fat%). A significant association (P = .008) was found between WSP and Fat%.
CONCLUSION: We were able to show a statistically significant association between WSP and Fat%. Such an association may be of great interest because the measurement of the Fat%, whatever the method used, is not easy in current practice. A replication of the study in the general population would be of great interest, especially since Fat% is closely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and many cancers.