Feel Good

Misconceptions Persist about Obesity

New study shows that many don’t understand the complexity of the issue

BY November 3, 2016


Good news: Americans now recognize that obesity is as serious a health risk as anything.

Bad news: They don’t really understand why.

A new survey from University of Chicago found that Americans say cancer and obesity are essentially the top health threats in the nation. However, the majority of respondents said that a lack of willpower to lose weight is the main cause of obesity.

Certainly, exercise and diet are major factors in combating obesity. But researchers say a complex interaction between genetics, lifestyle and environment is the true cause. And, oftentimes, a medical approach to treating the issue—including surgery—goes unrecognized.

"This survey reveals that Americans understand the risks of obesity better than ever, but hold major misperceptions about the causes of the disease, the effectiveness of the different treatments and the importance of involving the medical community in their care," said Dr. Raul J. Rosenthal of the Cleveland Clinic Florida in a press release. "I think obesity may be the only life-threatening disease where more than a third of the patients do not consult a doctor for treatment, and where the vast majority do not explore other treatment options that may yield better long-term success rates."


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