A new study from UNC-Chapel Hills found that only 15% of obese people correctly identified their weight class:
About 90 percent of normal weight adults and 85 percent of overweight and obese adults accurately self-reported their weight and height such that the BMI calculated using those self reports fell in the same category as actual BMI.
That accuracy changed, however, when researchers asked participants about their perceived weight status, that is, if they would consider themselves NOW to be underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. Seventy-one percent of normal weight and seventy-three percent of overweight adults classified themselves correctly, compared to only 15 percent of obese adults who correctly considered themselves to be obese.
If you read this Washington Post article, however, it's perfectly understandable where the confusion comes from:
A 5-foot-10-inch adult _ both male and female _ is overweight at 174 pounds and obese at 209, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Did you know that? (Doctors, you're not allowed to answer). I definitely didn't, and this is where the disconnect is coming from: messages have been unclear about the point at which we are considered obese. Sure, there's the BMI calculator, but how many of us actually use it? Or trust the result?
The sample size of this study was very small (~100), so more research is certainly called for. But better education efforts need to get going, ASAP.
Also, do most PCP's take your BMI at annual physicals? If doctors aren't telling their patients that they're obese when they are, that will certainly impact patients' self-image. It would be an uncomfortable conversation, but if your doctor won't tell you you've reached that dangerous weight point, who will?