What, me fat? Half of women underestimate their weight | 03/26/11

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Half of women underestimate their weight, and the weight of their kids, according to a study presented this week at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center measured the weight, height, and body-mass index of 222 mostly urban women, with an average age of 39, and their preadolescent children. Two-thirds were overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 30) or obese (with a BMI over 30). But about four out of 10 overweight women and eight out of 10 obese women underestimated their weight. In contrast, only 13 percent of women at a normal weight thought they were overweight.

Among the kids, 11 percent were overweight and 28 percent obese. But nearly half of the moms of overweight or obese children said their child was perfectly normal. The kids, however, weren't as forgiving: 41 percent thought their mother should lose weight.

"These troubling findings indicate obese images are acceptable norms in families. Strategies to overcome the obesity epidemic will need to address weight misperception among families," the study authors wrote in their conclusion.

These finding mirrors our own survey, in which half said they were overweight or obese while six in 10 actually were.

For a more accurate assessment of your weight, see our recent Ratings and guide to scales.

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