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One Quarter of Women Misperceive Body Weight

November 24, 2010

(Article first published as 25% of Overweight Women See No Need for Weight Loss Diet on Technorati.)

Many Overweight Women Don't See the Extra Weight

Many Overweight Women Don't See the Extra Weight

As the number of overweight and obese people continues to rise, our perception of ‘normal’ body weight is altered. Suddenly those individuals with no excess body fat are viewed as malnourished while our mind becomes accustomed to a new overweight appearance. Even our self-perception of misplaced body fat is changing as we look in the mirror and tend to accept the extra pounds in stride.

Regardless of how our mind may be tricked, extra weight is still a significant risk factor for a host of diseases including cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer. It’s important to be able to look beyond the image you see in the mirror and determine if you need to lose weight to ensure optimal health.

1 in 4 Women Misperceive Their Own Body Weight

We have become desensitized to people that carry too much weight, and begin to believe that excess pounds are normal and healthy. The results of a study conducted at The University of Texas Medical Branch shows that nearly 25% of women misperceive their own body weight and are unlikely to take the necessary actions such as reducing calories to lose weight. This places these women at considerable risk for adverse health consequences.

Study Finding Reflects ‘Fattening of America’

Study Finds We View Extra Weight as Natural

Study Finds We View Extra Weight as Natural

The study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology is the first large scale research to explain the dynamics behind a cultural phenomenon that has been manifesting for several decades. The study authors found that overweight and obese Hispanic and African American women were more likely than white women to categorize themselves as normal, and they were much less likely to report weight loss related behaviors such as dieting as a result.

The study concluded that the findings were a part of the cultural ‘fattening of America’ brought about by decades of a processed food diet and a shift away from foods in their natural form. According to corresponding author Dr. Mahbubur Rahman, “As obesity numbers climb, many women identify overweight as normal, not based on the scale but on how they view themselves.” Currently 82% of African American women and 75% of Mexican-American women meet the criteria for being overweight or obese.

Weight Misperception Affects Health

Using the Scale is the Key to Avoid Excess Weight

Using the Scale is the Key to Avoid Excess Weight

One of the most significant findings of this study is that those women who perceived themselves as either normal weight or overweight were more than twice as likely to be health conscious. This means they were more inclined to follow a reduced calorie diet, avoid unhealthy processed foods, avoid smoking and exercise regularly. Women who did not properly perceive their excess weight practiced unhealthy weight loss behaviors that can lead to harmful medical and psychological consequences.

We tend to adapt to our surroundings over time and as more individuals tip the scales toward overweight and obese, our perception of normal body weight becomes commonly accepted. We are clearly becoming a fatter America and our health is suffering as a consequence. The time has come to take responsibility for our body weight and make the required changes to diet and physical activity that will lead to a longer and healthier life.

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