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More in US being honest about weight, new study suggests

Associated Press / August 4, 2010

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ATLANTA — Are Americans becoming more honest about their weight? That theory could explain why the gap appears to be closing in what people say they weigh and what actual measurements report.

A new government telephone survey released yesterday puts the adult obesity rate at nearly 27 percent and rising. A more scientific survey has already said the rate is 34 percent and holding steady.

Specialists believe the 27 percent is probably an underestimate, because it’s based on what people say. People tend to say they weigh less than they actually do and say they are taller than they are.

The fact that it’s catching up to the more accepted 34 percent estimate could suggest people are becoming more accurate when they talk about their girth. It’s one explanation, anyway, said Dr. William Dietz, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is possible people are paying more attention to their weight and reporting it more accurately,’’ said Dietz, director of the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.

The new results are based on a telephone survey of about 400,000 people who were asked their height and weight. CDC researchers then calculate whether the person is obese, following a standard formula for body mass index.

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