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Dr. Aaron Tabor, MD is the author of Dr. Tabor's Slim & Beautiful Diet and FIGHT NOW: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer. After graduating from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Tabor devoted his career to helping people live a life they love through medical research.

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Diet with Dr. Tabor
by Aaron Tabor, MD Diet & Anti-Aging Expert

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One of the largest obstacles to losing weight that many of us have is developing a realistic perception of our true body size. In a previous blog, I discussed a Harris Interactive poll of 2,400 survey respondents that reported 30% of overweight individuals believe they are within a normal body size and that 70% of obese individuals believe they are simply overweight. This study clearly shows that as a population we need to develop a truer perception of our body size.

A new, larger obesity research study examined our perceptions of body size, what we choose to do about it, and the potential role of health care professionals in improving our perceptions[1]. For this study, obesity researchers analyzed data from nearly 17,000 adults who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003 - 2008. The study investigators reported that:

  • 73% of women and 55% of men reported a desire to lose weight; however, only 57% of women and 40% of men actually reported trying to control their weight.
  • 48% of overweight men and 23% of overweight women perceived themselves as being at their correct body weight.
  • The vast majority of overweight individuals (74%) and nearly one-third (29%) of obese individuals have never been diagnosed as overweight or obese by their health care provider.
  • Most overweight or obese survey respondents (74% of women and 60% of men) reported trying at least one weight loss strategy.
  • Only about one-third of overweight or obese individuals reported using both diet AND exercise to lose weight.
  • Obese or overweight individuals diagnosed as such by their health care provider were more likely to diet, exercise, or do both compared to individuals not diagnosed as overweight ...    Continue

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@ 8:42am ET on November 24, 2010 What about those who are within a normal body weight range, or even those who are underweight who are under the false perception that they are larger than what they really are and feel the need to lose body mass? I felt the need to address this issue, because even if it isn't as prominent as overweight and obese individuals in society in denial of the fact that they need to lose weight, it is still a problem that is growing. I believe that we live in a world of extremes, and many deal with an "all or nothing" attitude. We have problems with those who are overweight/obese and need to lose weight and are either in denial that they need to lose weight or believe that they do not have the willpower or ability to, and then on the other extreme we have people of the lower end of a normal weight range and underweight individuals using drastic means to lose weight and are chronically dieting and overexercising unecessarily. I apologize if my comments may have swayed from the general topic of the article, but this all has been bothering me and it's been churning in my head for a while and I felt the need to address it. This seemed like an appropriate place.
@ 1:09pm ET on November 24, 2010 Thank you for your comment; it is an important topic that does not seem to get quite as much attention.

There are certainly many individuals who believe they need to lose weight when they are actually within a healthy weight range. In fact, I recently had one such individual express a desire to lose 20 lbs. This would have put this person at an unhealthy, low body weight so it was necessary to educate this individual about an appropriate healthy body weight and the fact that there was no need to go on a diet to lose weight.

For individuals such as these, it is important to educate them on what a healthy body weight is and the dangers linked with becoming underweight.
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