Do you have obesity goggles?

by Brooke on November 1, 2011

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Most everyone has heard of beer goggles…when you drink too much you think people are attractive even if they are not.  These days it seems like most Americans have obesity goggles.  Men and women think they are a normal weight and may not be.  Parents think their children are a normal weight with a BMI of 33.4.  Or the opposite happens…parents have brought their children in to me and say I think my kid is too skinny compared to the other children.  No actually, your child is just a normal weight.  But “normal” weight doesn’t look normal anymore.

So what is BMI and how do I figure out where I fit?

The body mass index known for short as BMI estimates a person’s body fat based on their weight and height.  It is a simple tool that health professionals use to determine if someone is underweight, overweight or in a “healthy” weight zone.  To calculate your BMI click here.  Once you have found out your BMI you can review these categories below to determine where you fit.

Category BMI Range
Underweight   < 18.5
Normal weight 18.5-24.9
Overweight 25-29.5
Obese Class I 30-34.9
Obese Class II 35-39.9
Obese Class III  > 40


There have been many surveys taken demonstrating this obesity goggle effect.  US Today posted an article about the Harris Interactive/HealthDay survey a while back.  In that survey, they found that 30% of individuals that had fallen in the BMI category of overweight  had thought they were actually in the normal weight category.  The survey also showed that 70% of the individuals that had a BMI of 30-40 thought they were just overweight.  It was even more surprising to see that 60% of the individuals with a BMI above 40 thought they were just obese, while 39% of the individuals in this category thought that they were just overweight.  Another poll was conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.  They asked 111 women and 111 children a series of questions about their age, income and body size.  The majority of the women and children surveyed were Hispanic.  The results from these questions showed that 82% of the obese women underestimated their weight and so did 42.5% of the overweight women.  About 13% of the normal-weight women thought that they were also thinner than they were.  The results even showed that 86% of the obese children underestimated their weight too.

How can we get America to take off these obese goggles?





{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian November 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

I hate to say this, but I see many overweight children that I feel I often think I have obesity goggles when I actually see a kid that is normal weight, they almost look too thin.
I think it very important to pay attention to this since so many Americans are overweight.


Brooke November 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Hi Kristen! I see a lot of these children too. I love working with families that are really trying to improve their lifestyle behaviors!


Jessica @ Dishin' About Nutrition November 4, 2011 at 1:55 pm

GREAT post!


Brooke November 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Thanks Jessica!


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