This research astonishes me.
A new poll found that most Americans do not think that we in the United States have much of a weight problem.
They have to be kidding, right? The fact that the U.S. is having an obesity crisis is not news. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control states that nearly two-thirds of all adults in our country and a third of our kids are now overweight. Only one state -- Colorado -- has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent.
But the poll doesn't kid. The answers are real. And maybe we've hit on part of our obesity problem: We're in denial.
Here are the specifics. The McClatchy (Newspapers) -- Ipsos Poll was condited from July 30 through Aug 3 by questioning 1,000 people 18 and older in a random national sample. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. And here are the results:
When asked whether they thought obesity was a major problem for their families and themselves, only 17 percent said yes. Another 33 percent said it was a minor problem and 49 percent said it was not a problem at all.
What's going on here? How can this be? A total of 82 percent think it's a minor problem or no problem at all? When at least half of us are obese, and at risk for major health problems?
Is it that we know that we are overweight, but we plan to do something about it so we deny that it's a problem?
Do we only see it as a "problem" once real health issues start to step in, like diabetes or heart disease?
Or is it the physical equivalent of "NIMBY," which stands for "Not In My Back Yard" -- maybe we think obesity is a problem in the country, but not for us? (Of those questioned, just 30 percent said they themselves were overweight.)
I think that if someone had told me ahead of time that they were going to do this poll, I would have expected more people to say that yes, weight is a problem, but that they're doing something about it. (I'm certainly in that category.) It seems to me that weight -- and the need to lose it -- is one of the issues that is always front and center in our society. We watch Oprah lose, or gain. We struggle to fit into airline seats. We watch The Biggest Loser, or maybe the new reality program, More to Love. We hate the fact that we have gone up one size, or maybe two. And we buy billions of dollars' worth of weight-loss and diet books.
So how could we think it's not a problem? I am startled here. Maybe you are, too.
Here's the complete story:
And here's the CDC's page of data on obesity and overweight:
If the first true sign of getting help is admitting that we have a problem, it looks like we have a ways to go.
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