Shocking news: 30% of Overweight Americans think they’re in the normal range. If there’s a bright side to this, it’s that self-esteem and positive self-image appear to be thriving. But we can’t ignore the negative implications, which are that 30% of overweight Americans have a health problem that they don’t even recognize. Let’s take a look at some possible reasons for this trend.
While there are many possible explanations for why so many are oblivious to their physical health, the easiest to fall back on is personal ability, or that people just aren’t educated. It could be that average Joe is overweight because he hasn’t taken a health class since eighth grade, and if you mention BMI he’ll think it’s a baseball stat. This is certainly one theory, but the general fascination with physique and body image in our culture seems to contradict the idea that people just don’t realize they’re overweight. Here’s a more likely explanation: people don’t realize they’re unhealthy because the friends and family around them are unhealthy, too. Or in other words, Joe’s an apple that didn’t fall far from his tree, because he, his dad, and his brothers all have the same well-rounded physique. If Joe spends most of his free time with family members who are also overweight, then he’ll start to think it’s normal. And a third reason: if friends and family are overweight, then there’s a good chance that Joe’s environment is cluttered with high-calorie beverages, desserts, and junk food and that’s contributing to the problem.
In other words, personal ability, social ability, and structural ability all potentially play a role in the problem. So it’s important to analyze all of these sources of influence when diagnosing own problems, whether it’s fitness or finance or smoking cessation.