Losing Weight: Health Professionals and Public Differ on Who's Really in Control
may not be as simple as following a health professional's advice to be
more physically active and to eat healthier, lower-fat foods, a new
survey suggests. In fact, Americans have a more fatalistic attitude
about weight loss than health professionals seem to realize.
There is a
large difference of opinion between health professionals and Americans
over how much control people have over their weight, according to the
Discovery Health Channel survey, which was developed with the help of
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition
and Physical Activity. These findings may play a significant role in
how you prepare your organization's weight management programs, and the
success of your wellness initiatives focusing on weight loss.
"There's Nothing We Can Do..."
Americans feel that being overweight is due in part to factors outside
of a person's control, the study found. For example, 41 percent said
neither overweight nor obese people have any control over their weight
and two-thirds (67 percent) feel obese people have no control.
people who report currently being overweight, 21 percent said they are
not currently taking any steps to lose weight and 25 percent of these
people are not planning to take any steps in the future to lose weight.
results indicate that a major factor in the country's weight problem is
the widespread feeling that gaining weight is a natural part of the
aging process. Americans also believe weight loss through a change in
diet and exercise eventually will be gained again, the survey found.
Motivation Is the Key...
doctors, nurses and dietary health professionals said they believe most
adults can maintain a healthy weight if they are motivated and exercise
self-control. In fact, only 7 percent of doctors, 10 percent of nurses
and 15 percent of dietary health professionals indicated that a
person's weight is due to factors beyond his or her control, a direct
conflict with the public's view on weight loss and nutrition.
health professionals may underestimate the psychological reasons people
are not motivated to lose weight, as well as the lack of efficacy or
choice people feel in dealing with weight problems, the survey said.
Other results of the national poll included:
believe the kind of food a person eats is more important than the
amount of food eaten. Health professionals agree the kind of food is
important, but they also feel that the amount of calories eaten also
plays a role in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans cite reasons for why people gain
weight that are beyond a person's control: depression (11 percent),
genetics (10 percent), metabolism (6 percent), personal life problems
(6 percent) and medical problems (4 percent).
- Doctors cite motivation (19 percent) as the most important barrier to treating overweight and obese patients.
than "liking to eat" (18 percent), the No. 1 factor Americans cited for
their difficulties in losing weight is willpower and self-control.
Americans recognize how hard it is to lose weight far more than the
medical and health community, Discovery Health Channel noted.
Discovery Health Channel, c/o Discovery Communications Inc., 7700
Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814; (301) 986-0444, www.discoveryhealth.com.