Camila Cossio" />
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Monday, December 11, 2023


Obesity is heavy misconception

New research shows that a significant amount of obese people do not think they are fat. Dr. Tiffany Powell and her colleagues from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical center in Dallas investigated body misperceptions among 2,056 men and women.

All the participants were obese, meaning that their body mass index was 30 or greater. The study points to a lack of understanding of the effects of obesity.

The participants who misperceived their weight were content with their health, and felt healthier than those who were actually aware of their obesity. In addition, the ones who misperceived their weight were more likely to think they were at low risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes or having a heart attack during their lifetime. In fact, two-thirds of people with body size misperception thought they did not have a high risk of becoming obese.

The study showed that well-educated individuals were no more likely to perceive their weight accurately than less-educated people or those who made less money. A common trend toward being unaware of your weight or the denial of health problems is evident.

This is an ordinary concept; people rarely like to acknowledge that something is wrong with their lifestyle. The problem, though, is that the longer people wait to realize they need to take better care of themselves, the worse the consequences will be.

Change is hard and should be dealt with gradually, especially when it comes to weight problems.

Of the individuals who incorrectly perceived their weight, 44 percent had not seen a doctor in the past year, compared to a quarter of those who correctly measured their weight. When the misled did see a doctor, they were less likely to talk about their diet, physical activity level or whether they needed to lose weight.

The study also found a link between how heavy people see themselves and the frequency of obesity today. “There is this tendency that if everyone around you looks a certain way, you either want to look that way or you’re comfortable looking the way you are,” Powell said. “This should never be an excuse.”

In addition, the world we live in seems to be catering to weight problems because of how easy and convenient access to junk food is. Healthy food is expensive and many people cannot afford it — so they’re unfortunately stuck with fewer options. Even working out is a treat because many people simply don’t have the time.

Being overweight usually comes with a lower-life expectancy and numerous health risks.

Being ignorant of reality will only harm you. If you are obese or on the road to obesity but don’t think you have a problem, switch lanes now — because weight misconceptions are dangerous, physically and psychologically.

Camila Cossio is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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