Adults underestimate their body size, finds Polish study

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Adults underestimate their body size, finds Polish study

Adults often underestimate their weight class and body size, a study from Poland has found.

It included 452 women and 292 men. Of these, 2.8 per cent were underweight, 43.8 per cent were of a healthy weight, 29.7 per cent were overweight and 23.7 per cent were obese. Only 63.5 per cent correctly assessed their weight class.

Among those of a healthy weight, 17.6 per cent said they were underweight, 14.3 per cent overweight and 0.5 per cent obese.

Of the overweight people, 1.4 per cent said they were underweight, 30.8 per cent a healthy weight and 2.8 per cent obese. 

Among obese people, 2.6 per cent rated themselves as a healthy weight and 41.6 per cent as overweight.

Men were significantly more likely than women to underestimate their weight class. Only 49.5 per cent of respondents were able to correctly assess their body size.

Such misperceptions may reflect the large number of overweight and obese people. People may compare themselves to an ‘average’ person so larger body sizes become normal. 

“It seems that self-assessment of weight status and body size should be incorporated into the daily clinical management of people with obesity,” the researchers conclude.

(Scientific Reports 2022; 12:1159)

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