Changing perceptions of body weight are feeding the rise in obesity. American women are fatter than ever because it is now more social acceptable to weigh more, says a new study from Florida economists.
From 1996 to 2000, the weight of the average woman has increased by 20 pounds, which is considered a rapid rise within 30 years. The most obese woman saw the greatest increase in weight, from 258 to 305 pounds. Men have also become heavier, although not as dramatically as women.
Economists believe that weight gain due to overeating occurs when food prices drop but food prices have been steady since the mid-1990s. So why are women continuing to get fatter?
For the first time, researchers are suggesting that weight norms are not carved in stone but actually change as the population experiences more collective weight gain. As the average weight of the population increases, individuals slowly adjust their perception of appropriate body weight.
This research echoes another recent study that suggests your friends may make you fat because they alter your perception of what is an acceptable weight.
Obesity is dangerous health problem because it is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Obesity rates have been rising steadily in Canada and the United States. As of 2007, 59 percent of Canadians are considered overweight or obese, making it a population-wide health crisis.
A normal weight is categorized as a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. BMI is a ratio of weight-to-height. Click here to determine your BMI.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.