Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fat People In Deep Denial About Obesity

Dr. Schutt's survey of obese people produced surprising results

One of the main reasons why obesity continues to be on the rise in the United States and around the world is quite obvious: many of these people don't feel like they have a weight problem and may even be under the mistaken notion that they are already living a "healthy" lifestyle resigning themselves to the inevitability that they will be stuck in the body of a fat person forever.

Now this Forbes story about a new survey of obese people provides some evidence that proves that theory is exactly right!

Dr. David Schutt from the healthcare research firm Thomson Medstat conducted a random telephone survey from January to March with over 11,000 people, of which about one-third (3,100) were obese or morbidly obese and other 4,200 were considered overweight, and made some startling discoveries about the reality and severity of their weight problem according to their answers.

Here are some of the findings:

- Over three-fourths of obese Americans say they eat healthy
- Nearly 40 percent of obese Americans say they do "vigorous" exercise a minimum of three times a week
- Twenty-eight percent of obese Americans say they snack twice or more daily compared with 24 percent of normal weight Americans.
- Nineteen percent of obese Americans say they always read nutritional labels compared with 24 percent of normal weight Americans.
- Twenty-nine percent of obese Americans say they eat out at a restaurant over three times a week compared with 25 percent of normal weight Americans.
- Interestingly, of those who ate out at restaurants, 41 percent of the obese people said they ate every morsel of food put in front of them compared with 31 percent of the normal weight Americans.

Dr. Schutt said the results of his survey tell him there is "some denial going on" in the minds of these obese Americans.

"Or there is a lack of understanding of what does it mean to be eating healthy, and what is vigorous exercise," he noted.

Additionally, the survey left out a very important question regarding the quantity of the food eaten by obese people compared with their normal weight counterparts. Another flaw in the survey is the expectation that the respondents would be honest with their answers, but the perception by the obese people who were surveyed that they are eating and exercising well was quite telling.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.

So what are we to make of this survey? PLENTY!

First, with the whole issue of people being so ultrasensitive to being labeled fat or obese, society has become conditioned to look the other way and simply ignore the obesity problem even exists in people. When is the last time you have heard about someone confronting the obese about their weight? GASP! YOU CAN'T DO THAT, IT'S SO CRUEL!!!

Um, can I respond to that criticism quite bluntly (I don't really need your permission because I'm gonna do it anyway)? If someone is on the verge of dying because they cannot lose weight and restore their health, then what kind of friend or loved one would I be if I DIDN'T do something to help them?! Hmmm? When did we all become such sissys and let our feelings take over what is the right thing to do? UGH! No wonder I kept getting BIGGER and BIGGER until I decided enough was enough at 410 pounds! Even our doctors are overlooking obesity and giving the overweight a free pass. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

Second, these obese people are in serious deep denial and remind me of my nearly 600-pound brother Kevin. By the way, I hear Kevin is trying to start livin' la vida low-carb to get his weight under control, but he's got a long way to go. His predicament illustates this point about denial perfectly. When you don't think there's a problem, you don't know that you're supposed to be fixing it. It's not until a heart attack or some other life-jolting experience hits that people are moved into action.

Finally, people aren't being encouraged and educated in how to lose weight, so they give up on even TRYING. This is the saddest part to me. That's one of the reasons I started my "30-In-30" Low-Carb Weight Loss Challenge this week because people WANT to know there is hope for them to find a way out of their obesity. I'm here to tell you as a former 410-pounder who thought weight loss was out of my reach, it IS possible and you CAN be successful! DON'T GIVE UP!!!

While this survey shows obese people don't want to own up to the fact that they are fat, the truth is they are and it's time to do something about it. Stop making excuses and start losing weight right here and right now. Make today the first day of your commitment to lose weight and keep it off for the rest of your life. It'll be one of the greatest decisions you have ever made in your life and you will never be the same again. Take it from me -- 180 pounds are GONE forever! YOU CAN DO IT!


Blogger Lowcarb_dave said...


Another perspective. I've lost 130 pounds, people applaud my effort - who know me.

But I am still morbidly obese. If I go out in public and meet someone for the first time, they will simply see me as someone who is grossly overweight.

I would be quite annoyed if so skinny idiot off the street or doctor decided to 'go off' at me, and lecture me about losing weight.

Why would they do that? Becaus ethey have 'judge' me based purely on my size.

I had a (potential) client in the office I was working at, start berrating me about my weight and telling me that I should lose weight. At the time I had lost about 45 pounds on Weight Watchers and I was still in the middle of doing that. I told him "I have, I've lost 45 Pounds". He just said snidely - "Well you need to do more". In the same conversation he also decided to put me down, about the way I pronounce my last name.

It turns out that this guys ended up not being a client of the firm.

I still regret to this day, that I did not get up and punch the guys lights out. I reckon I could have. I just took his crap because of my job.

Do you see my point?

8/02/2006 9:50 PM  
Blogger 1Peter3 said...

I saw this article in the paper this morning, and figured you'd have a few words to say about it. :)

I don't think this survey tells the whole story about the people involved, and leaves out some very important questions. Nor do I think the blanket conclusion that obese people are in denial and/or lack understanding about what is a healthy diet or vigorous exercise is necessarly accurate either.

Did they bother to ask the people who were considered obese if they were actively participating in any kind of diet/exercise program? What percentage of the obese/morbidly obese participants who said they eat healthy and exercise vigrously were in the midst of losing weight, and just haven't dropped into the "normal" weight range yet?

The article simply doesn't say, so one assumes that the topic of whether you've been actively losing weight wasn't even broached in the survey, or that information should have been included in the analysis.

Another factor to consider is that the higher the "normal" weight range is for your height, the more latitude (in pounds) you have before you're considered to be obese. For instance, a woman with a small frame who is only 5'3" tall is considred obese if she is only 25 lbs over her "ideal" weight (20% overweight). However a 6'3", large framed man would not be considered to be obese unless he was at least 41 lbs overweight. Morbid obesity would be reached at 63 lbs overweight for our sample woman, but not until 110 lbs overweight for the man. Everything is relative. You don't need to weigh 300-400-500 lbs or more to be considered obese, for the purposes of this survey.

It doesn't look like the questions about eating out show enough variance between the normal weight participants and the obese participants to really be statistically significant for the purposes of this survey. If 4 times as many obese participants admitted to eating out so often and eating everything on their plates, then it might be significant, but these numbers of obese and normal weight particiapants who ate out and cleaned their plates are just too close to begin blaming obesity on eating out habits.

They also apparently didn't bother to ask the participants what constituted a healthy diet and vigorous exercise.

In short, I think this survey was just another biased look at obesity, where the assumption is that everyone who is overweight obviously isn't even trying. Yes, there are plenty who have given up and aren't even trying. But a lot of us who are actively losing weight, are indeed eating a healthy diet, and are indeed exercising vigorously several days a week, but just haven't reached the normal range. YET! As we all know, this takes time. I haven't run my BMI numbers recently, so I don't know if I've reached the merely obese range yet or not. But whether or not I'm still morbidly obese, or have finally passed below the magic threshold BMI number is immaterial, because had I been called for this survey, they would have just assumed that I was in denial about my exercise habits, and my diet, and nothing could be further from the truth.

8/02/2006 10:04 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

When I say "confront," Dave, I certainly don't mean berate like that idiot client of yours. I'd have knock his head off if he said that to me, too.

But when obese people deny that they even have a problem and then have the audacity to think they are eating healthy, exercising right and living a healthy lifestyle, something is VERY wrong.

Whatever it takes to get people to WAKE UP to this problem, I am ALL for. WHATEVER it takes!

8/02/2006 10:24 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

Part of problem is the fact that most people these days don't even know what healthy foods are made of, what constitutes a normal portion size, or even what essential nutrients really are. Heck, some people cannot even cook a proper meal anymore! Houses are being designed and sold without a kitchen. What the heck are we thinking?

Most still believe the AHA and Food Pyramid crapola: if it's low in fat then it must be okay.

Ever since the Government started poking its nose in dietary advice and allowed and even encouraged heavily-"sponsored" organizations like the ADA and AHA to tout their baseless and unscientific nonsense like it was the gospel, like they have been for at least 3 decades, things have gone downhill - and fast. And it won't stop until finally there's some public awareness that one simply cannot trust Gov't and health "experts". It's really that simple.

That's why Jimmy's work is so important: he creates awareness and education about something still in it's infancy yet extremely powerful: the truth.

8/03/2006 1:05 AM  

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