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Obesity Is Top Health Concern for Americans, Study Shows

By HERWriter
 
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Obesity Is Top Health Concern for Americans, Study Says Trifonenko Ivan/Fotolia

Americans view obesity as the top health concern for the nation, according to a survey of 1,509 adults conducted by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and NORC at the University of Chicago. However, the survey also posits that many Americans think the disease is due to lack of willpower.

The ASMBS and NORC reported that 81 percent consider obesity to be a serious national health issue. It tied with cancer as the most serious health problem.1

While 94 percent of those surveyed agreed that obesity increases a person’s risk of dying early, only 38 percent deemed obesity an actual disease.1In addition, 37 percent of adult Americans and 17 percent of underage Americans are obese, but more than one-third of those surveyed with obesity have not consulted a doctor or health professional.1

The survey indicates that many Americans think obesity is due to a person’s lifestyle choices, along with eating and exercise habits.1Consensus within the medical community, on the other hand, attributes obesity to a combination of genetic, environmental, behavioral and emotional factors.1

Furthermore, most obese Americans don’t recognize themselves as actually obese, they think of themselves as just being overweight.1 And there is a difference.

According to the CDC, the overweight person falls between the 25.0 and 30 BMI range. Someone that is obese has a body mass index of 30.0 or higher. While BMI may not always be the best indicator of someone’s health, as it varies at the individual level, it can be used as a screening tool.3

This study indicates that the conversation about obesity needs to change. It is easy to believe that if you are disciplined enough, you can become healthy.

Read more in Being HER

1) Obesity rises to top health concern for Americans, but misperceptions persist. NORC at the University of Chicago. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
http://www.norc.org/PDFs/ASMBS%20Obesity/Issue%20Brief%20A_ASMBS%20NORC%20Obesity%20Poll.pdf

2) New insights into Americans’ perceptions and misperceptions of obesity treatments, and the struggles many face. NORC at the University of Chicago. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
http://www.norc.org/PDFs/ASMBS%20Obesity/Issue%20Brief%20A_ASMBS%20NORC%20Obesity%20Poll.pdf 

3) Defining Adult Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html 

4) The ASMBS and NORC Survey on Obesity in America. NORC at the University of Chicago. Retrieved November 1, 2016. 
http://www.norc.org/Research/Projects/Pages/the-asmbsnorc-obesity-poll.aspx 

5) Is Obesity Really a Disease? The Atlantic. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/is-obesity-really-a-disease/277148 

6) Is Obesity a Disease? Prevention. Retrieved November 8, 2016.
http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/debate-obesity-disease 

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.