Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weight concerns may be bad for your health

weight check
Not the real weight but feeling overweight is linked to being a couch potato. This has been shown in a study where real weights and weight perceptions of adults have been linked to physical activity and nutrition: More than sixteen thousand Australians have been surveyed. They have been asked about their height and weight, whether they rated themselves as "acceptable" or "overweight", how often and how intensely they engaged in physical activity, and what food they consumed.

It came out that those rating themselves as "overweight" were less active than those who see their own weight as "acceptable" - no matter of their real weight. In other words, persons may be rated as "overweight" or "obese" according to international standards, but as long as they do not care and are happy with their own weight, they maintain the same level of healthy physical activity as the so-called normal-weights.

Besides, meeting the recommended intake of two fruit and five vegetable servings a day does not show any relation to the real or to the self-rated weights in this Australian study.

The drawback of weight concerns

The study authors conclude:

"Overweight perception may be another barrier to physical activity participation among men and women with excess body weight. Public health strategies might need to focus on overcoming weight perception as well as weight status barriers to adopting healthy physical activity behaviors."
This sounds like asking for the impossible as long as public health campaigns in the world-wide war on obesity try to raise the weight awareness in more and more people. Ironically, the study authors themselves contribute to what they have found to be a problem, using the label “acceptable" for the normal category of real weights.

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/digioreo/109774293/

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