We're all fatter than we think, with women underestimating their weight by an average of 5lb
Nearly half of parents of obese children thought their child was 'about the right weight'Women aged 35 to 39 underestimated their weight the most and thought they were 8lbs lighter than they were
14:55 GMT, 20 December 2012
Struggling to fit into clothes Most of us underestimate how much we weigh, a survey reveals
Women may be convinced they look fat in changing room mirrors. Now, experts from the Health and Social Care Centre in England have warned this could be a true reflection.
Their study found people are generally optimistic when estimating their own weight, with women convinced they are 5lb lighter than they actually are. Men meanwhile think they weigh 3lb less than in reality.
The survey asked adults their perceived height and weight before taking their actual
Parents were also asked whether they thought their child
was the about the right weight, too heavy or too light before their
child was measured.
Nearly half of parents of obese children thought their child was 'about the right weight', according to the Health Survey
for England 2011.
The gap between perception and reality was
widest among women aged 35 to 39 – who underestimated their weight by
nearly 8lb on average.
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan
said: 'This survey gives a brand new insight into how the average adult
in England has a different idea of their weight compared to what the
scales actually show.'
If peoples’ own estimated weight and
height were used to classify their weight, 17 per cent of men and 20 per
cent of women would be classified as obese. However actual measurements
put the figures at 24 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.
The survey shows that while people are
generally close to knowing their actual height, their perception of
weight is less accurate. Based on a survey of 8,610 adults, women on average thought they weighed
10st 11lbs when their actual weight was 11st 3lbs. Meanwhile men
thought they weighed 13st, when they actually weighed 13st 3lbs.
Both men and women consistently estimated they weighed less than they actually did
The study also revealed men and women also drank more often than they thought they did. The average number of days people said they drank drink in the week was higher when recorded in a drinking diary at 3.4 for men and 2.9 for women, compared to when reported in a survey interview (3.2 for men and 2.8 for women).
Finally it revealed unhealthy lifestyles could be taking their toll with 37 per cent of women and 31 per cent of men saying they had experienced chronic pain for more than three months.