Mark Dolliver’s Takes: ‘Overweight’ Just Sounds Less Bad

Even as it becomes more common, obesity is the affliction that dare not speak its name. In a poll for the National Consumers League, 12 percent of adults identified themselves as “obese” and 52 percent as merely “overweight.” Using self-reported weight and height to calculate body mass index (BMI) data, though, the study found 34 percent are obese. Nor is this poll a fluke. An International Food Information Council Foundation poll found 9 percent of adults saying they’re obese, though BMI data put 36 percent in that class. As you can see from the chart, the number of people who are obese tops the number “extremely concerned” about their weight. Among those whose BMIs tabbed them as obese, a non-landslide 38 percent said they’re extremely concerned.