A poll of 9,000 adults has revealed that men underestimate their weight by approximately 3lbs, while women underestimate by 5lbs. Women in their late 30’s are reported to be the most optimistic, believing they weigh half a stone less than they actually do.
Not the most comforting of news for women at Christmas, when food is rich and plentiful – but why the underestimation? Psychologists say it is down to misguided optimism, resulting in both men and women trying to convince themselves that they are thinner than they really are.
Andrina McCormack, (a chartered psychologist in Scotland), says: “What is probably happening is that there is so much social pressure to be slim that everyone wants to be thinner. So a woman may weigh 150lb, but she thinks that if she puts on a nice black dress and screws her eyes up she is closer to 140lb. It’s wishful thinking.”
And it looks like this optimism extends to how we see our children, too.
The study found that approximately half of parents whose child was obese thought they were ‘about the right weight’. The results come from the Government’s annual health survey, surveying 8,600 adults and 2,000 children.
NHS data reveals that one in four adults are obese and nearly two-thirds of are overweight. A fifth of children are now obese by the time they leave primary school, with another 15% being overweight.
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