Two-thirds of U.S. residents are now overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity rates have doubled for adults and tripled for children since 1980.
Yet, only about 30 percent of those trying to lose weight meet the National Institutes of Health exercise recommendations to get five hours per week of moderate aerobic activity, according to background information in the study.
Though several recent studies have called into question how much exercise helps with losing weight, exercise does reduce obesity-related diseases and has been shown to help people who have lost weight keep it off, according to the study.
In the study, about 18 percent of respondents belonged to a health club while 82 percent did not. About two-thirds were overweight or obese. The more someone weighed, the lower their assessment of their own health. Yet despite being well aware that they need to exercise, negative feelings about the health club environment kept them from doing so.
"Both overweight men and women were intimidated by the health club itself, the environment and the staff. They were both uncomfortable about exercising around fit people," Miller said. "The message to health clubs is they need to do more to make overweight people feel unself-conscious and comfortable."
But overweight people can't wait for health clubs to change, said Gregory Florez, a spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.
"It's the ultimate conundrum, or Catch-22," Florez said. "Obese people certainly know they are obese and they need to lose weight, and in many cases are quite motivated. However, they almost universally have a history of failure. They have tried every bestseller diet. They have tried every diet pill, legal and semi-legal. They have watched every infomercial."
The key may be to avoid an all-or-nothing approach. Instead of committing to daily spinning classe
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