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More than a third of adults underestimate their own body weight

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By Stephen Beech via SWNS

More than a third of adults underestimate their own body weight - and men are more likely to do so than women, reveals a new study.

Half of clinically obese people don't realize they are overweight - while one in six healthy adults believe they are underweight, according to the findings.

via GIPHY

Researchers found that less than two-thirds of adults can correctly estimate their own body mass index (BMI) and less than half can identify their own body size.

The research team calculated the BMI of 744 Polish adults, with an average age of 36, between 2010 and 2011 - and compared it to the participants’ estimates of their own BMI and body size.

The participants, 60.7 percent of whom were women, also reported how satisfied they were with their bodies.

A total of 21 participants had an underweight BMI (below 18.5 kg/m2), 326 had a healthy BMI (between 18.5 and 24.9), 221 had an overweight BMI (between 25.0 and 29.9) and 176 had an obese BMI (above 30).

The findings, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that 63.5 percent of the participants correctly estimated their own BMI while 49.5 percent correctly estimated their own body size.

However, the participants frequently underestimated their own BMI and body size with 17.6 percent of those with a healthy BMI estimating that they had an underweight BMI,

Around one in seven of those with an overweight BMI (14.3 percent) estimated that they had a healthy BMI and 41.6 percent of those with an obese BMI estimated that they had an overweight BMI.

Two in five of those with a healthy body size (39.8 percent) estimated that their body size was underweight, while more than a third of those with an overweight body size (35.7 percent) estimated that they had a healthy body size and half of those with an obese body size (49.9 percent) estimated that their body size was overweight.

Study corresponding author Dr. Wojciech Gruszka, of the Medical University of Silesia in Poland, said that just a quarter (25.4 percent) of the participants reported that they were "satisfied" with their current body size - and almost two-thirds (65.7 percent) said they wanted their body to be smaller.

Dr. Gruszka said: "Men were significantly more likely than women to underestimate their own BMI and body size, and to be satisfied with their body size."

The research team suggested that the increasing prevalence of obesity and the stigma associated with it may make adults more likely to underestimate their own BMI and body size.

Dr. Gruszka added: "Further research is needed to investigate whether psychological interventions addressing body size perceptions could help people better manage their weight."

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