The perception of the size of your body and your health

In a study presented at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions recently, 8% of obese people had a wrong concept of their body size, they thought that not only did they not need to lose weight, but that they could gain weight, what consequences could it have for your health?

The study included nearly 6,000 people (5,893) and the researchers found that 8% of the 2,056 who were obese were satisfied with their size and could gain weight.

That is, almost one in 10 obese people felt satisfied with their size and did not think they had to lose weight. Obviously that is a very high percentage of people who do not understand that they are overweight and think they are healthy.

About half of them were women. 14% of African-Americans, 11% of Hispanics and 2% of non-Hispanic whites who were obese, were satisfied with their weight and thought they did not have to lose weight.

Scales were used (those of Stunkard, specific for each sex) in which the participants selected the figure and the body that represented the size of their ideal body. The person’s idea of ​​the ideal body size was classified below normal, normal or above normal. The size discrepancy, which was the measure of satisfaction in terms of the size of his body, was a calculation of the difference between what he thought was really the size of his body and what he thought his body size should be ideally.

Those who had an erroneous concept of their body, thought they were healthy. But 35% had high blood pressure, 15% had high cholesterol, 145 had diabetes and 27% had smoked. The risk factors were similar to obese people who accepted that they had weight problems and needed to lose weight.

  • Those who had a wrong conception of their weight tended to go to the doctor less. Although their socioeconomic level and coverage was similar.
  • Among those who saw the doctor in the previous year, obese people who did not think they had to lose weight tended to report less, that their doctors had told them they had to lose weight, that those who thought they had to lose weight. 68% vs. 38%
  • Obese people who were satisfied with their weight did not exercise, while those who recognized that they had a weight problem, on average, exercised regularly.

Understanding the person’s perception of their weight and health could be key to the treatment of obesity since some of these people do not even go to the doctor. And perhaps more community interventions are required. But of course, we can start with the conversation in the doctor’s office. And changing perceptions.

If you have not been to the doctor for a long time, it may be worth a visit to make sure that your perception of your weight and health is correct.

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