MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Almost one-quarter of young women who are overweight actually perceive themselves as being normal weight, while a sizable minority (16 percent) of women at normal body weight actually fret that they're too fat, according to a new study.
The study found these misperceptions to be often correlated with race: Black and Hispanic women were much more likely to play down their overweight status compared with whites, who were more apt to worry that they weighed too much (even when they didn't).
Although the study looked mostly at low-income women attending public-health clinics in Texas, the findings do mirror other studies in different populations, including a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll.
That survey found that 30 percent of adult Americans in the "overweight" class believed they were actually normal size, while 70 percent of those classified as obese felt they were simply overweight. Among the heaviest group, the morbidly obese, 39 percent considered themselves merely overweight.
The problem, according to study lead author Mahbubur Rahman, is the "fattening of America," meaning that for some women, being overweight has become the norm.
"If you go somewhere, you see all the overweight people that think they are normal even though they're overweight," said Rahman, who is assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMBG).
In fact, "they may even be overweight or normal-weight and think they are quite small compared to others," added study senior author Dr. Abbey Berenson, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMBG.
The new findings are published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The study looked at more than 2,200 women w
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