Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

Americans deny weight problems, poll shows

Dieters more likely to cut fat than carbs

May 29, 2004


— Many Americans are in denial about their weight problems, according to an Associated Press poll, although more than half say they have been on diets at some point.

Those who do watch what they eat are more likely to trim fat than the trendier approach of cutting carbs.

Such issues are on people's minds with the approach of summer, when many will try to squeeze into swimsuits without wincing at the mirror.

In an overweight nation, just 12 percent say they are on diets right now, the AP-Ipsos poll found.

Most people who have been on diets say they've regained at least some of the weight they had lost. Twenty-three percent say they've gained it all back.

"I've been up and down for many years -- it is hard," said Ann Burris, a 59-year-old teacher from Tallahassee, Fla. "I've tried, and I understand nutrition, but it's a lack of self-discipline. I'm going to retire this year, and I want to try to get to a healthy weight."

Who's to blame for America's weight problem?

More than three-quarters said individuals bear the responsibility for themselves, while 9 percent pointed to family and 8 percent blamed fast-food restaurants.

The AP poll found that six in 10 who qualify as overweight under government standards say they are at a healthy weight. Only a quarter of those who are obese consider themselves very overweight, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs.

About two-thirds in the poll said they have tried to start regular programs of exercise in the past year.

Jennifer Bryan, a 36-year-old massage therapist in Coronado, Calif., said exercise is the key component since she has had to focus more on her weight in recent years.

"I'm not overweight on anybody else's standards," said the former NFL cheerleader. "I've always had a magnificent, fantastic body. But it's all about exercise."

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