Could You Be Twice the Man You Think You Are?

I recently did a post on how parents of overweight and obese children routinely underestimate just how overweight their kids are. A recent study from Ireland has found that overweight adults are at least as clueless (or in denial) about their own weight. And they get less and less accurate over time.
Over the course of nine years, epidemiologist Frances Shiely and her colleagues at University College of Cork analyzed height and weight data of a large population of men and women. At three different times, the researchers asked the study participants to estimate their own height or weight. Afterwards, they were accurately measured and weighed.

At the beginning of the study, people estimated their weight to be about 80% of what it actually was. Halfway through the study, they estimated that their weight was 64% of reality, and at the end, they were way, way off—recording their weight as just 53% of what it actually was.

In my post on parents’ inaccurate estimates of their children’s weight, experts put some of the blame on what some have called the “normalization of obesity.” Seeing obese people has become so commonplace that it seems normal. And a lot of parents feel that by comparison, their kids aren’t all that fat.
The same seems to be true with adults. “On one hand, such inaccuracies could be understood as a consequence of a lack of information regarding one’s own height and weight,” wrote Dr. Shiely in the study. “It is also possible that this group are in denial of their unhealthy weight, or don’t want to be labeled as obese.”

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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