Company News: TouchPoints
When it Comes to Obesity, Research Suggests that the Biggest Problem is in People's Heads, not on their Hips
A study of 1,500 Americans earlier this year by Catalyst Healthcare Research found that most adults who are overweight or obese – even those who are well-educated – say their health is good or excellent.
Other recent studies support our findings.
Preliminary results from a study conducted by Columbia University researchers finds that overweight mothers and their children tend to underestimate their own – and each other’s – weight.
A lot of their misperception has to do with the fact that overweight and obesity are becoming the norm,” said the lead author of the study, Nicole Dumes, M.D.
There was a trend that showed that as women became more and more overweight, and then obese, the larger the misperception of true body weight was,” Dumes said. “Unfortunately we found this was the case with the children as well.”
82% of the obese mothers underestimated their weight. That compares with 43% of the overweight moms and 13% of the normal weight moms.
A different angle was taken by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. This study found that obese and overweight Hispanic and African American women were significantly more likely than white women to misjudge their weight.
The study, published in the December issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that 25 percent of overweight or obese Hispanic women and 30 percent of African American women misperceived their weight, compared with 15 percent of white women.
As for what to do about the obesity problem, a recent Vanderbilt University poll found little consensus, at least among Tennesseans, other than offering school children free access to fresh fruits, vegetables and low-fat milk. The poll found 65 percent of those surveyed strongly supported or somewhat supported that idea, even if it cost taxpayers an extra $50 a year.
However, only 32 percent supported the idea of a tax on junk food similar to those on cigarettes and alcohol, while 58 percent objected to the idea. And only 31 percent supported requiring health insurers to charge higher premiums for policyholders who are overweight or who fail to exercise regularly. In contrast, 56 percent opposed that idea.
The Catalyst Healthcare Research study indicates that obese or overweight people also are not committed to a personal plan of action to tackle the problem.
In our research, more than half the participants said they either don’t exercise at all or merely engage in “naturally occurring exercise,” such as walking up the stairs in their own home.