Portly perception?

October 28, 2010, 11:04 PM GMT+0

The British are likely to underestimate their weight, even though your perception of your weight may bear little relation to your actual size, according to weight perception data from a YouGov SixthSense report on ‘Healthy Living’.

  • 17% think they are ‘very overweight’, while 46% think they are only ‘slightly overweight’ and 30% of the population think that their weight is ‘about right’.
  • Just 6% think they are ‘underweight’.
  • However, official Health and Safety Executive (HSE) data from 2008 shows that 24% of men and 25% of women are actually ‘obese’, while 42% of men and 32% of women are considered ‘overweight’, suggesting that many people who consider themselves to be ‘slightly overweight’ may in fact actually be clinically obese.
  • Weight by age and regionWeight concerns, again not necessarily related to actual weight, appear to increase with age, with those aged 40-54 years most likely to consider themselves ‘very overweight’.
    • 26% of women and 22% of men aged 40-54 consider themselves ‘very overweight’, compared to 14% and 8% (respectively) of 25-39 year olds and 7% and 5% of 16-24 year olds.
    Interestingly, Londoners appear far less concerned by their weight than people in any other area of the UK.
    • Almost half (47%) of Londoners think their weight is ‘about right’
    • While this figure does not rise above 31% (Wales) for any other part of the UK.
    Perception of weightWhen it comes to shedding the pounds, it seems that Brits are far more likely to hit the diet book than the gym.
    • 62% of the population said they would cut down on fat in an attempt to lose weight, while 58% said they would cut down on calories.
    • 56% would cut down on sweets and 52% would eat smaller portions in general.
    • However, while 55% would try to walk more often, just 26% would go jogging or swimming and a mere 20% would join a gym.
    But when thinking about healthy eating in general, many people remain unconcerned. One third of people (33%) say ‘there is a lot of fuss about what you can and cannot eat these days’, while just 23% say that ‘a healthy lifestyle will give you a long life.’See more on the YouGov SixthSense Healthy Living report