6 Surprising Myths About Obesity

We hear all the time about the obesity epidemic in the United States. Fat is equated to sickness, obesity kills, the trappings of modern life are leading to an epidemic—you get the picture. But, hold on a second—there is plenty of misinformation and misunderstandings about obesity. Read on for some of the biggest myths about obesity.

1. Obesity is Always Unhealthy.

Just because you’re fat, doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy—just like being thin doesn’t automatically mean you are necessarily the picture of health. Though obesity is often correlated with an increased risk for a number of health issues, being obese doesn’t automatically mean that you’re sick.

2. BMI is an Accurate Measure of Obesity.

The oft-used measure of obesity, the Body Mass Index (BMI) measures plenty of ultra-fit professional athletes as obese. Because BMI just looks at height and weight, a number of crucial factors are lost—it’s more of a (flawed!) tool to use to look at the general population, not an individual.

The best thing to do? Go to the doctor and get a checkup; don’t rely solely on your BMI to determine your health.

3. Overeating is the Primary Reason for Obesity.

The reasons some people weigh more than others are very, very complicated. Certainly, many people who are obese packed on the pounds because of eating too much, but there are plenty of other reasons: lack of sleep, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic background, medications, genetics.. Even pollution and air conditioning. People with mental health conditions, particularly depression, often pack on the pounds, too.

In short, it’s not as simple as saying that obese people eat too much and don’t get enough exercise.

4. Rapid Weight Loss is Bad.

You’ve probably heard the concept that losing tons of weight at the start of your diet isn’t always healthy—or sustainable. But, in contrast to that, more and more research is showing that rapid weight loss actually helps motivate people into losing weight. When the number on the scale drops quickly, those results give people a quick boost of self-confidence and the determination to keep going. Though this kind of weight-loss certainly isn’t sustainable long term, that quick drop at the beginning is quite beneficial.

5. Small Changes are Crucial.

Small things like cutting 100 calories from your diet or parking further away will probably help you be healthier. But it takes a whole lot more than these tiny steps to lose weight. Losing large amounts of weight takes a whole lifestyle overhaul.

Once upon a time, scientists thought that, for every 3500 calories a person burns, they’ll lose a pound of fat. You’ve probably heard that one. But the reality is far more complicated than that—especially considering that, the more weight you lose, the more the energy you need to sustain yourself changes.

6. Don’t Try to Lose Weight Until You’re Really Ready.

There’s no “right” time to start losing weight. There is no correlation between how much a person prepares themselves to start a weight-loss journey and how much weight they end up losing. This is one of those things that seems like common sense, but is, in fact, totally not true.

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D1 years ago


Susan Gammon
Susan Gammon2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago


Christine Ko
.3 years ago

What Claude H said.

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

I second Claude H comments.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago