Research released today shows that those who are overweight have low self-esteem and believe others view them as "stupid", "lazy" and having "no self-control".
In fact, of those who are overweight, 27% believe they would be more successful if they were slimmer.
Around 24% of adults in England are now classified as obese. With this figure predicted to continue its dramatic increase, action needs to be taken now to address the impact that excess weight is having on the self esteem of people across the UK. The research, carried out by YouGov among a random sample of 2,023 UK residents, also found that:
More than one in three women and one in five men who are overweight believe other people make judgments about them without knowing them
One in 10 people who are overweight believe others assume they must be unhappy with themselves
32% of respondents said comments about their weight would have more of a negative impact on their self-esteem than comments about their attractiveness, professional capability or sexual performance
Over half of women and just under half of men would change their weight over other aspects of their physical appearance.
Some respondents also admitted refusing social invitations or avoiding the gym due to feelings of self-consciousness about their physical appearance.
This research reinforces previous findings by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) highlighting the important role self-esteem plays in weight management.
Obesity experts confirm that self–esteem can become a barrier to discussions around tackling weight. “We have developed techniques to allow us to raise weight issues with people so that they do not feel stigmatised” said Jane DeVille Almond, Director and Vice Chair of the National Obesity Forum.
“I would be worried if people were going for quick fixes because of embarrassment about discussing their weight issues. The combination of diet, exercise and the support of a healthcare professional continues to be one of the best ways to lose weight effectively.”