Healthcare News & Insights

Why are we getting fatter? Most people have no idea what size they are

It seems most Americans can’t come to terms with their actual size.

According to a new study, 23% of overweight women think they are “normal” size. Conversely, 16% of women who are normal weight think they’re too fat.

So says a new report published in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The study looked at more than 2,200 female patients at a public health clinic. Although the study participants aren’t necessarily representative of the overall population, the results are in line with similar studies.

The researchers found that people’s perceptions varied quite a bit, depending on several factors:

  • Blacks and hispanics were more likely to be “overweight misperceivers,” meaning that they were overweight but classified themselves as normal or underweight.
  • Whites were more likely to be “normal-weight misperceivers,” who incorrectly classified themselves as overweight.
  • Women who were more educated and those who surfed the Internet were most likely to put themselves in the correct weight category.

Addressing patients’ weight misperceptions is difficult, but a key first battle in addressing the growing obesity epidemic. People who incorrectly think they are normal weight are unlikely to make needed changes in their exercise or dietary habits.

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