A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas found that women are gaining weight, sometimes rapidly, without noticing it at all.
Research showed that women, at an average age of 25, had put on up to 11 pounds over three years without realizing they had been getting heavier. This worries doctors because it indicates that national anti-obesity campaigns are failing and many women, in turn, are in danger of putting themselves at risk of cardiovascular disease and a number of other weight-related health issues.
466 women took part in the study, which monitored their weight for 36 months. Weigh-ins were conducted every six months and subjects responded to questionnaires asking them if they felt heavier or noticed any weight gain. The results were surprising. One-third of the participants failed to notice a weight gain of five pounds over the observation period, while a quarter failed to notice putting on more than 5 pounds.
These results show how women can fail to notice considerable weight gain and hold inaccuracies in their self-perception. These inaccuracies, presumably, can lead to a number of problems. Furthermore, they solidify previous findings that a quarter of overweight or obese women consider themselves to be of a normal, healthy weight.
When an obese or overweight person thinks they are at a normal, healthy weight, they may not feel it necessary to alter their diet or exercise, which can ultimately lead to further weight gain. When one recognizes their current weight, they can take the proper steps to either lose or maintain their current weight. Therefore, doctors suggest stepping on a scale regularly to monitor weight fluctuations.
In 2010, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, released the results of a 20-year study they had conducted. The research, beginning in 1989, monitored the weight of 18,000 women. The findings conclude that over a 16-year span, women, on average gained 20 pounds. It also concluded that women who got regular exercise over that time, either through brisk walks or cycling, were less likely to gain. In fact, research out of the Cancer Research Centre in Seattle found that women who exercise for two to four hours per week, can lose 3-5 pounds per year.
If you’re surprised by the number that appears the next time you step on a scale, don’t let it defeat you. Instead, try incorporating some exercise into your lifestyle to trim down and keep the weight off.