Honesty is always the best policy, but when it comes to our weight, many of us may fudge the facts a bit. A new survey indicates that less than 40 percent of Americans report being overweight, though research shows the actual statistic is much higher.
We first heard of this news from our friends at Shape Magazine, and then checked out the survey results ourselves. Not only do just 36 percent of Americans see themselves as overweight, of those people, less than 20 percent are actively trying to lose weight.
Those numbers alone really aren’t that bad. However, when you remember a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) found two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. If 66 percent of Americans are overweight or obese and only 36 percent of Americans report being overweight or obese, there’s the real issue.
It is important to remember that the information in the survey is based on self-descriptions of Americans’ weight status from phone interviews. Gallup conducted Health and Healthcare surveys from 2011 through 2013, with some of the questions focused on current weight status and whether or not they are seriously trying to lose weight.
Because the information is self-reported, some interesting trends have been noticed. Through the survey, 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women reported they are neither overweight nor trying to lose weight. In general, women are more likely to consider themselves “very” or “somewhat” overweight.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that women are more likely to report themselves as overweight, even if doing so in error. The survey also revealed that 21 percent of women who said they were overweight also said they are trying to lose weight. For men who reported being overweight, only 15 percent said they were trying to lose weight.
According to Gallup, all the survey results show the importance of perception when it comes to reducing obesity rates in the United States. Research shows the obesity rate much higher than what the survey results would lead one to believe. Gallup also has a suggestion on how we can make headway against obesity: “addressing the obesity crisis in America must first start by convincing overweight Americans they are indeed overweight.”
It sounds easier said than done, but it may be an important step in reducing the prevalence of obesity once and for all.