Sunday, September 4, 2011

Do You Fall Within a Healthy Weight Range?

Though Americans have heard the warnings about our bulging bellies time and time again, a recent survey finds the message is falling on deaf ears. Most of us have no idea whether we fall into a healthy weight range or not and aren't all that bothered either way.

Just 57% of those who responded to the recent national survey, now in its sixth year, were worried about their weight, down from a high of 70% in 2010. - the lowest figure ever for the survey, a nationwide sampling of insights from consumers on food safety, nutrition and topics related to health.

Also surprising, the survey found that while taste continues to be the main reason we buy foods and drinks, price is becoming more important too. These trends are the same as those that drive us to choose items off a restaurant menu. Survey respondents this year report lower prices could make them choose more healthy options when shopping or dining out.

What's more, people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight has dropped, now at 69%, compared to 77% just one year ago.

To some, this is a worrisome sign - signaling the "normalization" of a larger body size. As people around us get bigger, it makes us feel pretty good in comparison. And gives permission to hold onto extra weight ourselves.

All the while rates of diabetes, heart disease and preventable cancers are still going up.

Most people (42%) who responded to the survey don't bother to count calories, and many say they're not doing anything to counteract the amount of calories they take in compared to the number they burn with activity. Levels of inactivity are going up as well, more of us say we're sedentary compared to last year, at a high of 43%.

Still more people than in 2010 report that they have a healthy diet, and fewer Americans are making changes to the way they eat.

Fewer people who took part in the survey saw themselves as overweight compared to last year. Yet the weights and heights respondents supplied had about 34% overweight, another 34% as obese.

In the latest survey, half of the respondents considered themselves overweight, in comparison to 57% of respondents who said the same in the 2010 survey. The number who were honest enough to identify themselves as obese stayed steady at almost 8% for last year and this year.

Experts suggest that Americans are simply too overwhelmed... it's a challenge for them to pay attention to food intake instead of just looking to food for enjoyment.

There's also a sense of diet burnout. After you've tried all the quick fix, trendy solutions out there, and found no difference, you reach a stage where you just stop believing that the answer can be found. It's hard to face a problem you can't seem to fix, no matter how hard you try. Experts need to do more to show people how to make the changes that lead to weight loss and weight maintenance that falls within a healthy weight range, without having to be deprived or feel miserable.

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