Many overweight women, children have inaccurate perception of true weight

Apr 26, 2011

Many overweight children and women have inaccurate perceptions of their weight.

A number of overweight and obese mothers and their children may believe themselves to weigh less than they actually do, the American Heart Association announced during a recent gathering.

The study the AHA performed focused on women and children living in a predominantly Hispanic urban environment.

After collecting surveys from the respondents, researchers noted that, though the majority of women and children of a healthy weight estimated their weights correctly, overweight and obese women and children had less accurate perceptions.

Specifically, researchers said that 81.8 percent of obese women underestimated their weight, compared to 42.5 percent of overweight women and 13.2 percent of normal weight women.

"These findings imply that not only is obesity prevalent in urban America, but that those most affected by it are either unaware or underestimate their true weight," says lead author Nicole Dumas. "In addition, obesity has become an acceptable norm in some families. Strategies to overcome the obesity epidemic will need to address this barrier to weight loss."

Having a greater awareness of one's health may help some individuals tackle an obesity problem early on, before it develops further. Obesity has been linked to a number of serious illnesses and may also result in higher health and life insurance premiums. 

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