With holidays in full swing, you may want to re-think how many desserts you eat. Our country is way more obese and overweight than you might think. In a recent Forbes piece, the general population guessed that half of Americans are overweight, but it was discovered that the real number is much higher.
Ipsos MORI posed the question – Do you know how many people are overweight or obese in your country? Most people don't. While Americans were bit closer at estimating the obesity problem, than most countries. Forbes reports that 66 percent of American adults are classified as overweight. Saudi Arabia and Turkey's numbers are surprising.
According to Forbes, 70 out of 100 Saudis are classified as obese. In fact, obesity has become the one of the leading causes of preventable death in Saudi Arabia. Turkey suffers from 65 percent of obesity, while India and Japan's numbers are at a low 20 percent. According to Iposos MORI's chart, South Koreans had the "most accurate" estimate of obesity.
Bobby Duffy, the Managing Director of Ipsos MORI Social Research said:
Across all 33 countries in the study, each population gets a lot wrong. We are often most incorrect on factors that are widely discussed in the media or highlighted as challenges facing societies, such as the proportion of young adults still living at home, immigration and wealth inequality. We know from previous studies that this is partly because we over-estimate what we worry about – as well as worrying about the issues we think are widespread.
But we do also underestimate some key challenges such as obesity. In many countries, we’re maybe not as worried as we should be, given the extent to which our populations are overweight.
We also get facts wrong that will make us focus on some issues more than they perhaps deserve: for example, we tend to think our populations are much older than they actually are, and that more people live in rural areas than is really the case.
There are multiple reasons for these errors – from our struggle with simple maths and proportions, to media coverage of issues, to social psychology explanations of our mental shortcuts or biases. It is also clear from our “Index of Ignorance” that the countries who tend to do worst have relatively low internet penetrations: given this is an online survey, this is therefore likely to reflect that this more middle-class and connected population generalise from their own experience rather than consider the much greater variety of circumstances in the full populations of their country.
You can take the quiz and see where you fall on the spectrum of knowing how many people suffer from obesity in your country.