(EndPlay Staff Reports) - Regardless of your gender or size, you have probably experienced a "fat day" at some point in your life, when maybe you felt bigger than you actually were.
You are not alone in feeling this way. A recent study shows that even healthy people are not able to accurately categorize their own weight or their partners' weight: Apparently, men often underestimate their own weight, while overestimating the weight of their female partners.
Results of the Danish study appeared online at ScienceNordic.com . Research hinted at differences in self-image perceived by both genders:
• For the most part, men underestimated their own weight; a percentage of men who were technically obese (with a Body Mass Index or BMI above 29.9) categorized their BMIs as normal (18.5 to 24.9).
• Women who were underweight perceived themselves as normal weight, while many women who were at a normal weight thought they were overweight.
• However, men and women who were obese both tended to estimate their weight closer to normal.
The most striking part of the study, however, is that men tended to view their female partners as overweight even when they were at a healthy weight. According to the report, it only took a BMI score of 22.59 for the men to start categorizing their partner as overweight when medicine says a BMI of 25 or more makes one overweight.
Body image expert Sally McGraw, who blogs at Already Pretty.com , noted that the Danish finding "reinforces the idea that expectations of women are skewed when it comes to weight, shape and body size."
McGraw also pointed out of this can affect women and their self-esteem. "Most women already struggle to feel beautiful and desirable, regardless of BMI," she said. "Knowing that their partners view them as even bigger than they truly are could erode self-esteem and might lead to or aggravate disordered eating."
Sociologist Vibeke Tornhøj Christensen, who conducted the study, asserted that health authorities can help combat negative body image by making an effort to help people "to distinguish between what is health and what is merely signals from the media."
"But this isn't easy, because there are people who really have to deal with obesity," she admitted. "On the one hand we must take care not to turn weight and health into an all-encompassing problem; on the other hand there is a need to highlight the problem for certain groups of people."