Denial of Overweight and Obesity in America

My Bariatric Life Health Guide March 05, 2013
  • Many Americans Don't Believe They Are Overweight 

    There is an obesity epidemic is the United States. As a matter of fact, it may even be worse than supposed. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 35% of adults and 17% of children in the United States are obese. However, a recent study from the New York School of Medicine claims that those numbers may be excluding nearly forty percent of obesity cases. 

    The contention of the researchers is that BMI diagnoses often result in false negatives because BMI only estimates body fat but actually does not measure it. Therefore, many people who have been classified as being overweight might really be obese.

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    A great many people realize that an obesity problem exists in America, but the problem might be exacerbated by beliefs that it is only other people who are obese. It isn’t us. It’s them. We’re fine, but they’re fat.

    Problem? What problem?

    Although nearly 70% of people in the United States are either overweight or obese, one in four adults who meet the criteria for either condition do not believe they have a problem. Because no problem exists, no solution is necessary. 

    Findings that were published in the Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that men who were overweight or obese but did not believe a problem existed were 71% less likely to lose weight. Sixty-five percent of women of who were of the same condition and mindset saw no reason to diet.

    Dieting is down overall with 20% of people saying they were on a diet during any week in 2012 compared to 31% in 1991. Women had the greatest decline with 23% saying they were on a diet when asked in 2012 compared to 36% in 1991. 

    The Obesity Comfort Zone

    When participants in a survey were asked if they were concerned about their weight in 2010, 70% said that they were. When asked the same question in 2011, the level of concern had dropped to 57%. When asked if they were trying to lose weight or to maintain their current weight, 77% of participants in 2010 said that they were compared 69% in 2011. In other words, people seem to have not only made the decision to do less about their weight problems but have also decided not to concern themselves about the problem at all. 

    It was also discovered that most of the respondents did not count calories and more were admitting that they did not try to balance the number of calories they consume with the number of calories they burn.

    A survey of 1,234 adults conducted for Consumer Reports found that 52.6% of participants described their diet as somewhat healthy, 31.5% as very healthy, and 5.6% as extremely healthy. This makes for a total of 89.7% of Americans who believe their diets are more or less appropriate, a number that does not coordinate very well with the percentage of Americans who meet the criteria for overweight or obese.

     

    Living life well-fed,

    MBL

     

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    References:
    Chron - http://blog.chron.com/sciguy/2011/01/a-whopping-90-percent-of-americans-think-they-eat-a-healthy-diet/
    Mail Online - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372310/U-S-denial-obesity-overweight-adults-dont-think-problem.html
    US News - http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/04/02/study-american-obesity-epidemic-much-worse-than-cdc-believes
    USA Today - http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/07/decrease-dieting-weight/1814305/
    Web MD - http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20110505/many-in-us-no-longer-worry-about-weight?page=2