Health Effects Of Obesity May Be Related To Body Image
In a secondary analysis of the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data set, researchers looked at a sample of 150,577 participants to examine the impact of desired body weight, independent of actual BMI, on the number of physically and mentally unhealthy days subjects report over one month. After controlling for BMI and age, researchers found that men who wished to lose 1 percent, 10 percent and 20 percent of their body weight, respectively, reported 0.1, 0.9 and 2.7 more unhealthy days per month than those who were happy with their weight. Among women, the corresponding increase in numbers of reported unhealthy days was 0.1, 1.6 and 4.3. Additionally, the desire to lose weight was more predictive of unhealthy days among women than among men, and among whites than among blacks or Hispanics.
"Our preliminary data suggest that some of the obesity epidemic may be partially attributable to social constructs that surround ideal body types," the study's authors said. [From: I Think Therefore I Am: Perceived Ideal Weight as a Determinant of Health. Contact Peter Muennig, MD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, N.Y. email@example.com.]
The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association (APHA), the oldest organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at http://www.apha.org.
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