Hey, I'm not Fat!

Nov 30, 2009

A study presented at the American Heart Association's 2009 Scientific Sessions said that eight percent of obese people misunderstand their body size and don't feel they need to lose weight.

The Dallas Heart Study included 5,893 people. Eight percent of the 2,056 participants who were obese said they were happy with their body size or felt they could gain weight, said Tiffany Powell, M.D., lead author of the study and a cardiology fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in an American Heart Association news release.

The researchers asked participants to chose the figure "that most looked like their present body size and the figure that represented their ideal body size" using the sex-specific Stunkard nine-figure scale. Those with a misperception of body size believed they were healthy. But 35 percent of them had high blood pressure, 15 percent had high cholesterol, 14 percent had diabetes and 27 percent were current smokers.

Powell's study included about 50 percent blacks, 20 percent Hispanics and 30 percent whites, similar to other urban populations. Fifty-four percent were women. African Americans and Hispanics were significantly more likely than whites to be happy with their body size and believe that they didn't need to lose weight.

Two to three percent of the participants thought that an above-normal body size was ideal. Participants who perceived an ideal body size to be larger than normal were most likely to be women, African American, and have higher body mass index, blood pressure and higher insulin resistance.

The AHA news release reports that researchers found:

  • People who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician.
  • There was no significant difference between the two groups (those that correctly perceived their body size and those that didn't) in socioeconomic status or access to health care due to insurance status.
  • Among people who visited their doctor, obese people who did not feel they needed to lose weight were much less likely to say that their doctor told them they need to lose weight compared to those who knew they needed to lose weight.
  • Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn't exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average.

Lead Researcher, Powell noted that there is an important segment of the overweight population that is invisible and not receiving help. She also said that the findings mean that physicians need to talk with their obese patients about exercise and weight loss and that it is their responsibility to figure out "who this population is and how to talk with them."

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Source: American Heart Association

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Posted by volleyball on 2 December 2009

Another useless study so someone can make a point. This is still a free country and the fat police need to disband.
Yeah, I'd like to see a world where everyone is healthy and stays that way. But that is not reality. A lot of people have no problem being fat. So why would they consider themselves as being overweight? We might but we don't have the right. just as we don't decide what religion, if any, that they should follow

Posted by Anonymous on 2 December 2009

Another study that misses the point. "Ideal weight"? Whose ideal are we talking about? Your culture's? Mine? Someone else's? I'm waiting for U.S. medical researchers to factor in the cultural differences in body perception, and perhaps even tone down their cemented support for the "American beauty standard." Not everyone is going to fit their "ideal", and even if they did, researchers would find some other way to differentiate among the "ideal people."

Posted by Anonymous on 20 January 2010

The first two comments made are whats wrong with health and our society. How can you be happy being fat if it will shave years off of your life. If you think its ok to shorten your life there is an underlying problem that is inside of you. "ideal weight" is not meant to be said as "skinny" it is meant as the individuals "healthy" weight. I am over weight and diabetic. No doctor has ever told me that I need to be skinny, only what amount of weight loss will be healthy for me. I don't want to die 30 years before I time if I can prevent it by being healthier. Fat is not the answer. There is no such thing as happy and fat. It really bothers me that our young people are being raised to think being unhealthy is cool or rebellious. I am 26 years old with a horrible disease that makes everyday living hard. So it is disgusting to me that people don't take "fat" seriously. Do you know how many terminally ill people wish that a little exercise and healthy eating could save them????!!!! but cancer patients and others are not that lucky are they....

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