In contrast to Bridget Jones and popular opinion, most Americans - including women - are fat and not particularly concerned about doing anything about it. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, and more women than men are obese, yet fewer than one-quarter are dieting at any given time. Only a minority of Americans eat a healthy diet, and fewer than one-third get regular exercise.
So why do people say they want to lose weight, but make little or no effort to do it?
Part of the answer may lie in the fact that people may not realize that they're overweight and therefore don't think they need to diet or choose healthy foods. According to research published last year, nearly 40 percent of overweight women believe themselves to be thinner than they really are.
The researchers found that 36.8 percent of overweight women (and 10.5 percent of obese women) believe themselves to be underweight or of normal weight. As lead author Dr. Mahbubur Rahman noted, "greater misperception of body weight in this group means less weight loss behavior."