Yes, You Are Heavier Than You Think

Obesity levels are on the rise, but is it all in your head? If it is, you'd better stop trusting your head: new research suggests that under-estimating how much you actually weigh is on the increase (a bit like waist sizes).

Photo: puuikibeach

The research, published in PLoS, studied self-reporting habits when it came to calculating Body Mass Index (BMI) in Irish adults. BMI is something of a contentious measure anyway, but in this case the researchers were simply looking at how people self-reported their height and weight figures over a ten-year period.

There's some good news, in that we're no better or worse at reporting how tall we are than we were ten years ago, regardless of age, gender or indeed BMI. That's rather heavily counterbalanced by the bad news, which is that we're increasingly inaccurate in estimating body weight, and this appears to be especially true for those who would normally be diagnosed as clinically obese.

In other words, the obesity epidemic may be worse than otherwise thought, because we're busy fooling ourselves more than we used to.

Height and Weight Bias: The Influence of Time [PLoS]


    Not really any surprise. I was 40kg overweight and most people genuinely thought I didn't need to lose weight, I just needed to bulk up. Nobody has a clue about weight these days!

    Yeah I seriously put on about 10-15 kgs and didn't even really realize.

    The problem is, I was under the impression I was already fat or over weight. When I just wasn't stick thin. Having that mindset allowed me to put on a bunch of weight and actually get overweight with out realizing.

    This reminds me, I need to go to the gym.

    Very true. Wouldn't have noticed my weight creep up to 80 kg (my heaviest ever) except my suit pants, which I rarely wear, were extremely tight when I last tried them on.

    I'm a 25 year old, 5'10" lady, and I weigh 134 kgs. Yup. 134. Kilograms.

    While I am working (and damn hard - I've list 7 kilos in two months) on rectifying this ridiculous problem, I am also pretty good 'forgetting' about just how heavy I am. Not in a "HURRR I WILL EAT ALL OF THESE DONUTS" way, but simply in a "There is no point being self conscious all the time, so I'm just going to carry on with my sh*t" kind of way. It's sometimes slightly startling (and, I'll be honest, a little disheartening) when I step on the scales after two weeks and realise I've only lost a kilo, for whatever reason. Or when I walk into a clothing store and catch a glance of myself in a mirror, because I simply don't see myself as the massive ball of lard that I am. I just sort of...forget. Maybe it's because I'm not particularly self-conscious, but I do forget.

    This article, short as it was, was a reminder of the fact that I need to work harder than I already am. In a good way, though.

    Unless you are huge like 130KG+ it's not that hard to go from obese or borderline obese like I was to just "over weight".Just cut out/down on sugar,milk,junk-food and eat smaller portions and you will over time 3-6 months become only slightly over weight to heavy weight.

    Unfortunatly the next step to get to your "ideal" weight and BMI takes a major life change in regards to exercise,activity levels and deit.Personly I'm fine with a 20 or so BMI weighing 85-90 KG's on my large 180cm frame with a little pudgy gut, not to bad for someone in their 40's.

    Like many of my large-framed peers BMI has me as obese despite being quite fit with no gut.

    In other words, the obesity epidemic may be MUCH LESS worse than otherwise thought because it's not gathering the right data.

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