Posts Tagged ‘Weight Change’

Did I Gain Weight?

October 24th, 2012 at 4:27 pm by timigustafson

Many Americans find it hard to judge whether they are successfully managing their weight or not. Despite of increasing awareness of the obesity crisis in this country and around the world, most people don’t see themselves as being affected by weight issues. What’s more, misperceptions – some call it denial – about weight changes are widespread, according to a recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

“If people aren’t in touch with their weight and changes in their weight over time, they might not be motivated to lose weight,” says Dr. Catherine Wetmore, a former Fellow at IHME and now a biostatistician at Children’s National Medical Center, who is the lead author of the study report.

For the study, Dr. Wetmore and her colleagues compared self-reported changes in body weight between 2008 and 2009 by using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an annual survey that was designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track health and lifestyle indicators in American adults. The survey included data from almost 400,000 participants in both years.

Based on their self-reporting, most participants actually gained weight between the 2008 and 2009 surveys but were not aware of it or even thought they had slimmed down a bit, although they hadn’t.

There may be many reasons why people misjudge their weight. It’s not always the case that they deliberately lie or live in denial. “It may be related to optimism or vanity or a real lack of awareness,” says Dr. Wetmore.

According to her findings, women seem more in tune with their body weight than men, and younger adults also do a better job than older ones.

Still, she calls the study results “surprising and alarming.” Self-awareness of one’s body weight is an important factor in the fight against the obesity epidemic, she said in an interview with WebMD.

Misperceptions and denial are also common among those who are already overweight or obese. This is particularly unfortunate because other health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure often occur in connection with weight gain and can remain undiagnosed and untreated until it’s too late.

For some people accepting their unhealthy weight and not doing anything about is an option they think they can live with. Also, as a society we are increasingly becoming accustomed to obesity and are beginning to see it as an unfortunate but unavoidable part of modern life. According to another recently published study, the number of severely or morbidly obese people (with a BMI of over 40) in the U.S. has increased by a whopping 70 percent over the last decade, making it the fastest growing segment of Americans with weight problems.

As a result, there are many more folks who suffer from weight-related disabilities to the point where they cannot live productive lives anymore. “People may basically be forced into retirement because they can’t work,” says Dr. Roland Sturm, an economist at the RAND Corporation and leader of the study.

Experts estimate that treatment of obesity and related illnesses add annually close to $200 billion to health care costs in the U.S. It is self-evident that these trends are not sustainable.

Obviously, there are no simple solutions and well-meaning measures like curbing soda consumption through taxes and limiting serving sizes, or posting calorie counts in restaurants can only scratch the surface, if that. But something needs to happen and soon. What comes to mind is a song by the late Michael Jackson: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways.”

Timi Gustafson R.D. is a registered dietitian, newspaper columnist, blogger and author of the book “The Healthy Diner – How to Eat Right and Still Have Fun”®, which is available on her blog, “Food and Health with Timi Gustafson R.D.”, and at amazon.com. You can follow Timi on Twitter and on Facebook.

-->
Write your own blog

Do you have something to say? Are you passionate about a particular topic and can write regularly and coherently? We'd love to talk with you. Contact us today about blogging on this site.

Blog Search
About timigustafson

About Timi Gustafson, R.D. As a clinical dietitian, health counselor, book author, syndicated newspaper columnist and, as of late, blogger, she has been able to reach millions of people, addressing their concerns about issues of health, lifestyle and nutrition. As Co-founder and Director of Nutrition Services for Cyberdiet.com (now Mediconsult.com), she created the first nutrition-related interactive website on the Internet in 1995. Many of the features you find on her blog, www.timigustafson.com, are based on the pioneering work of those days. Today, her goals remain the same: Helping people to achieve optimal health of body and mind. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from San José State University in California and completed a Clinical Dietetic Internship at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. She is a registered dietitian and Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an active member of the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a member of the Diabetes Care and Education, Dietitians in Business and Communications, Healthy Aging, Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition, and the Vegetarian Nutrition Practice Groups. For more information about Timi Gustafson R.D. please visit: www.timigustafson.com

*About Community Blogs

Community blogs are written by volunteers. They are members of our community but not employees of this site or newspaper. They have applied or were invited to blog here but their words are their own and are not edited by the editor or staff of this site, and have agreed to abide by our Terms of Use. The authors are solely responsible for their content. If you have concerns about something you read on a community blog, please contact the author directly or email us.

Would you like to have your own blog on our site? Contact us today.

Archive
Categories