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Perceive self as over or under weight

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults ages 17 and older in 1974, sample adults ages 18 and over in 1985, 1990, and 1991, sample children under age 18 in 1981, and sample persons ages 12 to 21 in 1992, WTPERCEPT reports if the sample person thinks he or she is overweight, underweight, or about the right weight.


Changes in universe significantly limit comparability of the 1981 and 1992 samples with other samples. In addition, a slight change of universe affects comparability of the 1974 sample with subsequent samples.

Changes in the categorical responses across years affect the comparability of this variable. In 1974, 1985, 1990, and 1991, the respondents are given three options to choose from, including overweight, underweight, and just about the right weight. However, in 1992, there are 5 categorical responses, including very overweight, slightly overweight, about the right weight, slightly underweight, and very underweight. Researchers are advised to combine responses of "very overweight" and "slightly overweight" into a single group of "overweight." Similarly, "very underweight" and "slightly underweight" can be pooled into a new group of "underweight."


  • 1974: Sample persons age 17+.
  • 1981: Sample persons under age 18.
  • 1985: Sample persons age 18+.
  • 1990-1991: Sample persons age 18+.
  • 1992: Sample persons age 12 to 21.


  • 1974, 1981, 1985, 1990-1992