A startling number of Americans are overweight, but results from a recent Gallup study show that the number of people who are actually overweight is significantly disproportionate to the number of believe who believe that they are overweight. This discrepancy is believed to be linked to social norms that have distorted what is acceptable for body size.
Research has shown that these norms may not have always had such a prominent effect on perception. In the mid-90s, 56% of Americans were considered overweight, and 48% of consumers thought of themselves as “very” or “somewhat” overweight. Today, that discrepancy is highlighted, with 70% of Americans actually being overweight, and a mere 36% thinking they are.
The bigger picture with these disparities in perception is that current anti-obesity efforts can’t be effective if the people they’re targeting don’t believe they have a weight issue. If consumers continue along this path, it’s possible obesity rates could climb even faster.