The skewed perception of weight amongst North Americans is alive and well, and stretches to both extremes of the scale according to a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive and Healthday.
Here are the results of the poll;
- 70 percent of obese people say they are merely overweight
- 39 percent of morbidly obese people think they are overweight, but not obese.
- 30 percent of people who are overweight think they are actually of “normal” size.
Not only do people have a distorted perception of their weight, but they are equally disillusioned about how to fix it, with respondents citing surgery as the most effective method of weight-loss, followed by prescription drugs, and over-the-counter diet-food supplements.
If this is an accurate representation of the country as a whole, it makes it hard to be optimistic about fixing the nations weight problem.
The stats aren’t terribly alarming when you stop and think, however. The prevalence of obesity has likely shifted peoples’ perception of what “normal” is.
Granted there are limitations to Body Mass Index (BMI). People can range into the “overweight” category, and still be healthy and “normal-for-them,” depending on their body type.
Perhaps it’s a semantics issue? The word “obese” has a more extreme connotation to it, and it may scare people to associate themselves with this term.
What perhaps may be considered alarming is that the majority surveyed feel surgery is the most effective way to lose weight, followed by diet drugs and supplements. When neither healthy eating nor exercise cracks the top 3, you know there’s a problem.
It speaks to a quick-fix mentality that is culturally ingrained in us. (Note: weight loss surgery isn’t a quick fix per se, and can certainly be effective in many circumstances).
On the other end of the spectrum, as many as 10 million females and one million males in the US are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorders.
Are you surprised by any of these statistics? To what do you attribute the slanted perception of weight?
Image Credit: Erix