Can You Be Overweight and Not Know It?

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on March 30, 2011 · 0 comments

Your body image misperception can be a hindrance to your long-term health.

In study of more than 2,000 Dallas residents, all of whom were obese, many did not believe they were too heavy. Yet every person surveyed had a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or more–which would classify them as obese. For a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall this translates to a weight of at least 180 pounds. For a man 6 feet tall this equals 221 or more pounds.

Fourteen percent of African Americans and 11% of Hispanics were aware they needed to lose weight but only 2% of whites thought they did. Study participants, though obese, did not think they were unhealthy–which means they did not appreciate the health risks that excess pounds carry. Forty-four percent had not seen a doctor in the last year, and when they did go, they were unlikely to discuss weight, activity or diet.

If most people around you are heavy this becomes the new norm and you become comfortable looking the way you are. As our population gets heavier one of the biggest barriers to optimum health will be getting people to recognize the risk of weighing too much.

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