Public Opinion and Weight Action About Diet Nutrition and Physical Activity - Most Americans Have Tried To Lose Weight, Americans' Changing Shapes And Sizes, Many Americans Deny Being Overweight
health obesity children poll
As far as the American public is concerned, obesity is the fourth most important health problem facing the country, after the cost of healthcare,
healthcare access, and cancer.
—Frank Newport (Questions and Answers with the Editor in Chief, The Gallup Poll, November 30, 2004)
A November 2004 Gallup Poll revealed that knowledge about diet and the risks of overweight do not necessarily translate into behavioral change. A significant majority (62%) of Americans believed they should lose weight, even though less than half (41%) considered themselves overweight, and even fewer (29%) were actively trying
to lose weight. It appears that Americans are somewhat confused about their own personal weight situations.
The American public is, however, certain that obesity, especially among children, is an important issue. A February 2005 Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive health-care poll found that more than three-quarters (77%) of adults and 70% of parents believe that childhood obesity in
the United States is a major public health problem. The majority of survey respondents (86%) attributed the problem to parents' failure to pay adequate attention to their children's diets, and the same proportion believes that the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity will inevitably increase health-care costs in the future.
Despite the abiding sentiment that personal and parental responsibility are primary when it comes to lifestyle health choices, 83% of poll respondents thought that the schools and governments need to do a better job of limiting children's access to unhealthy foods and regulating food industry marketing and advertising to
children. A lack of physical activity also is deemed critical, with the states rarely mandating physical education in schools, and even less often, actual physical activity (Kelly Gullo, "Most of the American Public, Including a Majority of Parents, Believe that Childhood Obesity in the U.S. Is a Major Problem," Wall Street Journal Online/Harris
Interactive Health Care Poll, vol. 4, no. 3, February 15, 2005).
purchase candy, compared with 84% of sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds who said they were able to buy soda and candy. (See Figure 11.15.) responsible, while others chose health-care providers (19%) and the media (12%). Just 7% of respondents believed food providers such as restaurants should be responsible for educating children about weight. (See Figure 11.18.)
A 2005 Gallup Poll reported that trying to lose weight is a common activity among the U.S. adult population—more Americans than ever before said they had tried to lose weight, and many reported having attempted to lose weight several times in their lives. The number of attempts increased in the fifteen years from 1990 to 2005,
from an average of four attempts in 1990 to nearly twice the num…
The results of a national size survey that gathered measurements from more than 10,000 people across the United States confirmed that Americans are not only getting heavier but also have changed in proportions. The "Size USA" project is an anthropometric research study (it studies human body measurements and makes comparisons
of these measurements). Using a three-dimensional body sca…
When Size USA participants were asked how they perceived their weight, more than half of the men (51%) and 38% of women described themselves as at "about the right weight." Just 10% of men and 21% of women said they were "quite a bit overweight." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that about
two-thirds of Americans are overweight and almost a …
About half of those surveyed by Gallup worry about their weight all of the time (15%) or some of the time (34%), and less than one quarter (22%) said they never worry about their weight. (See Table 11.2.) As expected, adults who described themselves as overweight were much more likely than those who described themselves as
about right or underweight to say they worry about their weight all or some…
Parents play a pivotal role in terms of preventing childhood obesity by shaping their children's early eating and physical activity habits. Investigators at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, observed that mothers of overweight
preschoolers frequently appeared unaware of, or unconcerned …
Despite escalating media coverage of overweight and obesity, and their associated health risks, many Americans do not appear to be overly concerned about overweight and obesity—their own or others'. They demonstrate little support for policy initiatives intended to prevent and combat obesity, and persist in the belief that
obesity results from individual personal failings rather than…
A 2003 Gallup Poll revealed that while more than three-quarters of American adults know that most fast food is not exactly a healthy choice, many continue to eat it, with 30% reporting occasional fast-food forays just once or twice a month, and 21% consuming fast food several times per week. A scant 5% of Americans eschew fast
food altogether, and 13% indulge only a few times a year. Young adults …
In "Personal Health Issues" (Gallup Poll, July 20, 2005) almost half of Americans (48%) surveyed reported that they did not participate in vigorous sports or physical activities for at least twenty minutes in a typical week. Participation in moderate sports or recreational activities—pursuits that cause slight increases in
breathing or heart rate, such as walking, gardening, o…
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