Normalization of plus size and the danger of unseen overweight and obesity in England

Raya Muttarak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: This study aimed to investigate trends and sociodemographic factors underlying weight misperception in adults with overweight and obesity in England.

Methods: This study used descriptive and logistic regression analyses based on a pooled nationally representative cross‐sectional survey, Health Survey for England, for the years 1997, 1998, 2002, 2014, and 2015 of individuals with BMI ≥ 25 (n = 23,459). The main outcomes were (1) weight misperception and (2) weight‐loss attempts as well as the associations with demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and health status.

Results: The proportion of individuals with overweight and obesity misperceiving their weight status increased over time between 1997 and 2015 (37% to 40% in men; 17% to 19% in women). There were socioeconomic disparities in the misperception of weight status, with lower‐educated individuals from poorer‐income households and members of minority ethnic groups being more likely to underestimate their weight. Those underestimating their overweight and obesity status were 85% less likely to try to lose weight compared with people who accurately identified their weight status.

Conclusions: The upward trend in underassessment of overweight and obesity status in England is possibly a result of the normalization of overweight and obesity. Obesity prevention programs need to consider differential sociodemographic characteristics associated with underassessment of weight status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1129
Number of pages5
Issue number7
Early online date22 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Cite this