Only 1 in 10 clinically obese people admit that they are; 11% of women and 7% of men.
A further 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 admitted that they were “very overweight” but the rest thought that they were either simply overweight or just right.
The research carried out by Cancer Research UK and published in BMJ Open found that only 10% of people knew that a body mass index (BMI) of 30 is the cut-off score for obesity.
Leaving aside the fact that the BMI has been discredited when used as a single measure of health and better methods have been discovered it perhaps reflects the fact that being overweight has become normalised in our society.
The director of the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Centre at UCL said; “It’s a real worry that people don’t recognise that their weight places them in the obese category because it means that they aren’t aware of the increased risk of a number of health problems including cancer”.
She also thinks that the term obese is considered derogatory and rejected by overweight people, and this might have been worsened by campaigners using extreme images to get their message across, something most people won’t identify with.
It also seems that many GPs struggle to categorise patients as either overweight and obese and now that health care workers aren’t allowed to use the word “fat” just what can be done about it? Enforced boot camps?
The government would rather throw money at it by providing gastric bands for people with no will-power or motivation to stay healthy.