November 22, 2009
Some Obese See Themselves As Healthy

Some obese people even think they could gain weight.

ORLANDO, FLA., Nov. 17, 2009 — Some obese people misperceive that their body size is normal and think they don’t need to lose weight, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2009.

In the Dallas Heart Study of 5,893 people, researchers found that 8 percent of the 2,056 who were obese said they were satisfied with their body size or felt they could gain weight.

“Almost one in 10 obese individuals are satisfied with their body size and didn’t perceive that they need to lose 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. “That is a sizeable percentage who don’t understand they are overweight and believe they are healthy.”

Obesity contributes to a lot of health problems including breast cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. So body weight delusions kill.

Update: Since obesity and blood risk factors are increasing delusions about weight are becoming more costly.

In a new study, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988–2006, representing 8,264 adult men and women, 20 to 85 years old. All had complete risk factor profiles of their blood pressure, fasting glucose, low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) and smoking status.

Researchers found that during this time period, the average body mass index (BMI) increased from 26.5 to 28.8 kg/m2, a significant change. BMI – a measure of body fatness – is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by height in meters squared. In the same period, the number of people with optimal blood pressure decreased from 48 percent in NHANES III, 1988–94, to 43 percent in NHANES in 2005–06, and the number of people with optimal fasting glucose decreased from 67 percent to 58 percent. Both blood pressure and blood glucose are closely linked to obesity and these adverse trends track with the change in body weight.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 November 22 08:12 PM  Aging Weight Studies

random said at November 23, 2009 8:48 AM:

This is all caused by an obesity virus created by aliens to fatten us up before they harvest...

Seriously though, body image and eating habits are heavily influenced by external queues - especially by how people around us are eating. If your friends and family are obese, you are likely fat as well.

Based on my experience, the general sweetness of our foods today also has a heavy influence on eating. Both real and artificial sweeteners have a tendency to make me even hungrier shortly after I eat. Whether this is due to insulin response or toxic hunger, I have no idea. All I know is my sweet tooth is killing me.

Jackson said at November 23, 2009 9:09 AM:

This reminds me of the obesity caused by global warming, well linked to the hacked emails from the climate research unit in England. Please provide more information, thanks.

Fat Man said at November 23, 2009 9:53 AM:

I have always thought that being fat proved I was stupid. I was right. Now does that make me smart?, and if I am smart does that make me thin?

Randall Parker said at November 23, 2009 12:43 PM:


I do not know what you are referring to. A URL to a claim about this would be helpful.

Fat Man,

Be careful. If you dream up a solipsistic universe where each mental state causes a physical change that causes another mental change you could find yourself in an infinite loop rapidly shifting states.

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