According to Dr. Rahman, "As obesity numbers climb, many women identify overweight as normal, not based on the scale but on how they view themselves."
This finding is of concern because "greater misperception of body weight in this group means less weight loss behavior, which may make them more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease risk factors and other obesity-related diseases."
Simply put, if overweight women don't realize they are overweight they won't make any effort to lose weight.
The research also reveals other surprising findings. For example, though it's often claimed that most women think they are too fat, only 16 percent of normal-weight women in the study perceived themselves as overweight. The vast majority (84 percent) accurately perceived themselves as normal weight or underweight.
It seems that the Bridget Joneses of the world are in the minority, and this may help explain why studies show that three out of four teen girls are happy with their bodies. The study, "Self-Perception of Weight and Its Association With Weight-Related Behaviors in Young, Reproductive-Aged Women," is published in this month's Obstetrics & Gynecology.