Americans Getting Fatter, More Honest


Surprise, surprise: Americans have not conquered that unfortunate weight problem that doctors are always harassing us about. According to a government study released today that surveyed adults about their weight by telephone (great way to encourage exercise!), the obesity rate is at nearly 27 percent. In 2007, the percentage of surveyed adults who said they were obese was at 25.5. However, there’s a weird twist in the results of this survey, because the gap between people reporting obesity and actually being obese (which a “more scientific” study counts at 34 percent of the population) may be narrowing.

Which is a kind of success, if you think about it: Are people actually telling the truth about their weight more these days? And what are the ramifications of that, besides being merely fat instead of fat liars?

Let’s play it out:

It could be that people are paying more attention to their weight and reporting it accurately (maybe). Maybe we’ve all broken down and bought ourselves scales! Or it could be that people are no longer ashamed of what they weigh — we’ve grown numb to all the doctoral guilt trips — and are just coming out with it, no holds barred.

Or, the phone survey results, which only included people with landlines, may have led to a certain fouling of the data. Are cell phone users fatter than landline users? Does anyone know a landline user, regardless of his or her weight?

Per an informal study of the Runnin’ Scared staff, we all overestimate our height (just to round up!) and underestimate our weights, which haven’t changed since we were teens. Also, we may start lying about our ages, FYI.

Here are the fattest states: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Mississippi. The least obese are Colorado and Washington, D.C.

In other news, Britain’s public health minister seems to think that calling people “fat” instead of “obese” would solve the whole problem. “If I look in the mirror and think I am obese, I think I am less worried (than) if I think I am fat,” Anne Milton told the BBC.

We think her butt looks big in that theory.