Overweight and Unrepentant

Given the size of the weight-loss industry, one would assume Americans are stoutly resisting the growth of their girth. Instead, a new Roper Starch survey makes it clear that many overweight adults see no problem incarrying excess poundage. In its analysis of the data, Roper indelicately says a “wide majority” (62 percent) of overweight adults “does not believe that excess weight poses any serious risk to health and well-being.” As for themselves, 21 percent “do not believe they need to lose weight,” and 25 percent have never tried to do so. Their doctors may not share this outlook. But then, 57 percent of the overweight and 37 percent of the obese (i.e., with a body-mass index over 30) have “never had a discussion about weight with their doctors.” As you can see from the chart below, overweight Americans are as likely to get information on diet and weight loss from their friends and relatives. Does this mean most people are getting all sorts of misinformation? Not necessarily: 50 percent of the overweight and 45 percent of the obese “have not made any effort at all to seek information about diet and weight loss.” On the other hand, 51 percent said they would find it “helpful to have access to a personal healthcare counselor by phone.”