Is This a Fat Mirror?
Almost 25% of Overweight Women Think They Aren't
Over half of reproductive-aged women in the U.S. are overweight or obese, as classified by their body mass index (BMI). The situation is even worse for minority women: 82 percent of African American women and 75 percent of Mexican-American women are overweight or obese. Interestingly, though, new research shows that many overweight women don't think they're overweight.
According to the University of Texas study, nearly 25 percent of overweight and 16 percent of normal weight reproductive-age women misperceive their body weight. To be fair, we've all woken up one day and thought, "Where did that come from?" Muff top sneaks up on you. Fo sho.
In the study, researchers examined survey data from more than 2,200 women ages 18 to 25, and then classified the women (52 percent of which were overweight or obese) into four groups:
- Overweight misperceivers: overweight women who described themselves as normal or underweight
- Overweight accurate perceivers: overweight women who described themselves as overweight
- Normal weight misperceivers: normal weight women who described themselves as overweight
- Normal weight accurate perceivers: normal weight women who described themselves as normal or underweight
The study found that significantly more Hispanic and African Americans (25 and 30 percent, respectively) were overweight misperceivers, compared with white women (15 percent). However, significantly more white and Hispanic women were normal weight misperceivers (16 and 20 percent, respectively).
Overweight misperceivers were significantly less likely to be on diets or engage in other weight-related behaviors. Normal weight misperceivers were more than twice as likely to diet, skip meals and smoke more cigarettes. At least have a good reason to put yourself through that hell.
Put simply, many people who need to lose weight aren't trying to and those who don't need to drop pounds are stressing about dieting. So we have climbing obesity rates in one corner and an unnecessary, unhealthy preoccupation with weight in another... fantastic. And the people in between just order a Diet Coke with their Big Mac.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (2010, November 23). Nearly 25 percent of overweight women misperceive body weight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.co/releases/2010/11/101122172000.htm