New Year's Resolutions: Are You Overweight?
Happy New Year! For many people, this is the day that signals the turning over of a new leaf, the time to make improvements in our lives. Losing weight and adopting habits to make weight loss easier are common New Year's resolutions. Obesity is on the rise due to irresponsibility, unhealthy diets, and lack of physical activity. It is a leading cause of various diseases and conditions. Surprisingly, many people are unaware that they are actually overweight. This might be a possible reason for why the number of obese people continues to grow.
Perception vs. Reality
In a recent poll study, participants provided their height and weight, two pieces of information used to calculate a person's body mass index (BMI). Then, the people were asked to select which weight category they were in from the following options: normal size, overweight, obese, and morbidly obese. When the researchers looked at the BMIs of the people and compared them with their answers, the results were very telling.
An astounding 30 percent of the people who were actually overweight considered themselves to be normal size. 70 percent of the obese people thought they were overweight. The disconnect between perception and reality continued, as almost 60 percent of the morbidly obese people selected the obese category. Also, 39 percent of them thought they were simply overweight.
Your BMI is a good place to start if you're trying to determine whether or not you are overweight. That National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has a BMI calculator you can easily use online. All you need to know are your height and weight.
How Can a Person Not Know They are Overweight?
Based on the estimates of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 percent of adults aged 20 or over are obese, and 34 percent are overweight. In addition, 18 percent of teens aged 12 to 19 are obese, 20 percent of children aged 6 to 11 are obese, and 10 percent of kids aged 2 to 5 are obese. Overall, 3 out of 5 Americans claim they do not exercise enough, placing the blame on inactivity.
Although not everyone should be expected to know how to figure their own BMI, it is not an unreasonable expectation for a person to know if they are obese or normal sized. Unfortunately, too many people have absolutely no idea what their current weight status is. Of course, this complicates the weight issues in the country because unless a person is aware of a problem, they cannot fix it.
The outcome of the above poll has led to a number of possible explanations. If a person grows up in a household where a majority of people are overweight, they might think of it as "normal." Celebrities are seen by some as thin and normal. Again, a person's individual situation has a role in the way they think about weight.
Fixing the Problem
A lot of the people asked about how to solve the weight problem mentioned surgery as an option. Specifically, a gastric bypass surgery attempts to alter the eating process of a person. For people that are not responding to regular dieting and exercise, the surgery might be an option to discuss with a doctor. However, for those that are unwilling to even try a diet or fitness program, the consideration of gastric bypass surgery only represents the laziness that caused the weight problem in the first place.
Research shows that people are aware of the problem and they know what is causing it, but for some reason, there is not enough motivation to correct it. Since the 1980s, obesity has steadily grown to become a huge obstacle. Even with the flood of products being marketed to weight loss, it remains a serious threat. If you think you might be overweight, consult with a doctor to find out for sure, and design a plan that works for you. Self-responsibility is the key to a person's realization that their life is valued and worth the effort it takes to stay healthy.