The CDC found that 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. However, a Gallup poll showed only 36 percent of Americans believe they are overweight. They may not like hearing it, but it’s easier than hearing they have diabetes.
There has never been a higher percentage of overweight Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there has rarely been a lower percentage of Americans who actually believe they are overweight.
The CDC found that 70.4 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Those levels are determined by a person’s body mass index. A person who is 5 feet, 9 inches would be overweight at 170 pounds, which is a BMI of 25. Obesity is set at a BMI of 30, or 200 pounds for a person who is 5 feet, 9 inches.
The CDC study is disturbing, but the truly puzzling numbers were supplied in a recent Gallup poll that revealed only 36 percent of Americans believe they are overweight. That is the lowest figure since 1990, with the exception of the 34 percent charted in 2012. By comparison, in 1990, 56 percent of citizens were overweight and 48 percent believed that they were.
Yale University’s Nicholas Christakis, a physician and sociologist, told The Washington Post that as the nation grows more obese, Americans seem to be resetting their beliefs – and understanding – of what a healthy weight is.
“As a person’s social contacts gain weight, it seems to change the person’s idea about what an acceptable body size is,” Christakis said. “This may result in him or herself gaining weight, or, even if it does not, it makes the person more accepting of other people’s weight gain.”
The revised perception does nothing to alter the reality of the chronic and acute conditions linked to obesity, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and some cancers. The CDC projects that 1 in 3 Americans will have diabetes by 2050 if trends continue.
No one wants to hear that he or she needs to lose a few pounds. But worse words would be: You have diabetes. Or: You have heart disease.
If a person can’t look in the mirror and see that there is a problem, then the loving or helpful thing that a family member or doctor can do is point out what should be obvious.
— PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE