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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
23:13 GMT, 20 December 2012
It will be little consolation to any woman who has stood in a changing room fretting about whether her bottom looks big – and any man who has desperately tried to convince her that it doesn’t.
We’re all fatter than we think we are, a study claims, and women are most likely to be guilty of underestimating their size.
It seems the average woman is actually 5lb heavier than she believes she is – and those in their late 30s are the most optimistic, convinced they weigh half a stone less than they really do.
Struggling to fit into clothes Most of us underestimate how much we weigh, a survey reveals
Men, meanwhile, underestimate their weight by a more modest 3lb, the poll of 9,000 adults found.
Psychologists say it is all down to misguided optimism, with both men and women trying to convince themselves that they are not that far from the size they’d like to be.
Andrina McCormack, a chartered psychologist in Dundee, Scotland, said: ‘What is probably happening is that there is so much social pressure to be slim that everyone wants to be thinner.
‘So a woman may weigh 150lb, but she thinks that if she puts on a nice black dress and screws her eyes up she is closer to 140lb. It’s wishful thinking.’
Both men and women consistently estimated they weighed less than they actually did
And it seems this wishful thinking extends to how we look at our children, too.
The report found that nearly half of parents whose child was obese were convinced they were ‘about the right weight’.
The findings come from the Government’s annual health survey, which surveys some 8,600 adults and 2,000 children.
As part of the study they were asked how much they thought they weighed before being put on the scales.
Tim Straughan of the Health and Social
Care Information Centre, which compiled the data, 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
‘Women appear to misjudge their weight
more than men – with women in their late 30s in particular
underestimating their weight by nearly 8lb.’
Nearly two-thirds of adults are
overweight and one in four is obese, according to NHS data.
A fifth of
children are obese by the time they leave primary school, with another
15 per cent being overweight.