Thursday, April 13, 2006

Oblivious to Obesity

Oblivious to Obesity

Charlotte, N.C. - Obese people have a blind spot when it comes to their own weight problem, according to a study that showed only 15 percent of people in that category view themselves as obese.

Such a lack of self-awareness can be deadly.

"If somebody doesn't perceive themselves to be obese, they are most likely not going to pay attention to any public health information about the consequences of obesity," said Kim Truesdale, a nutrition researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Among those consequences are heightened risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

The study of 104 adults, ages 45 to 64, showed that only 15 percent of people who fit the body type for obese correctly classified themselves that way.

In contrast, 71 percent of normal-weight people and 73 percent of people classified as overweight were accurate in their self-assessments.

"I think part of the disconnect is just the overall image people have when you say 'obesity,'" said Truesdale, who presented her findings recently at conference in San Francisco, Calif. "They see someone who's 400 pounds, maybe morbidly obese. They don't think about the person who's 5 feet 10 inches and you weigh 208, 209 pounds and you are technically obese. You can probably think of a lot of men who are 5 feet 10 inches and over 200 pounds."

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