Although numerous surveys have been conducted to estimate the prevalence of attempted weight loss, little information is available on the possible effects of question order on the prevalence estimates.
The authors examined data collected from 231,852 respondents to surveys conducted in the District of Columbia and 20 states that participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System between 1985 and 1992.
In surveys conducted from 1985 to 1988, respondents (n=117,827) were first asked their body weight and then were asked if they were trying to lose weight ; 48% of the women and 29% of the men reported that they were trying to lose weight.
In 1989,1991, and 1992 (no questions about weight control were asked in 1990), the order of the questions was reversed so that respondents (n=114,025) were asked whether they were trying to lose weight before they were asked to report their weight ; 41% of the women and 26% of the men reported that they were trying to lose weight.
The authors conclude that survey respondents, especially women, may be more likely to report that they are trying to lose weight when questions about weight control practices immediately follow questions on current weight.
This apparent effect of question order points to the need for caution in comparing prevalence estimates across surveys in which the questions are not asked in a similar order, even when the questions are worded identically.
Am J Epidemiol 1995 : 142 : 64-7.
Mots-clés Pascal : Epidémiologie, Méthodologie, Questionnaire, Perte poids, Homme, Prévalence, Erreur estimation, Etats Unis, Amérique du Nord, Amérique
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Epidemiology, Methodology, Questionnaire, Weight loss, Human, Prevalence, Estimation error, United States, North America, America
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Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 95-0438748
Code Inist : 002B30A01A1. Création : 01/03/1996.