Obese people feel slim in company of fat friends

Updated: Jun 25, 2012, 11:21 AM IST

London: Almost half of all adults in Britain who are obese think they look “normal” because they see so many other fat people, health experts have claimed.

Despite being dangerously overweight, they actually believe they are actually in good physical shape, along with most of the people they encounter in their day-to-day lives.

According to researchers, that is because the number of Brits who are above average weight outnumber those who are average or below average by a ratio of two to one, the Daily Mail reported.

With an estimated two thirds of the population classed as overweight, being fat has become the norm and clouded an ability to recognise a healthy body shape.

Just as catwalk models make it seem “normal” to be too thin to young women, so the sight of millions of porky Brits make it seem normal to be fat to millions of others.

A poll of 2,000 Brits by healthcare giant Bupa found more than half of those medically classed as obese believe they have a `normal` body shape.

And around half also believe they eat a healthy diet, even though the evidence suggests they do not.

Treating obesity costs the NHS 4 billion pounds-a-year. People who are obese are more likely to develop heart disease, type II diabetes, osteoarthtitis and certain forms of cancer.

Part of the problem is convincing obese Britons that they are fat and need to lose weight or face serious health issues.

Dr Sneh Khemka, group medical director of Bupa, said he had been shocked by the findings and warned that that urgent action was needed.

“This survey shows a normalisation of obesity. People don`t recognise they are obese or their children are obese and the expectation of what is normal has changed,” he said.

Two thirds of British adults are overweight. Almost one in four is obese, but this is expected to rise to 45 per cent by 2030 if current trends continue.

Latest data shows that over the last decade there has been a 30-fold increase in weight-loss operations on the NHS rising from 261 in 2000 to 8,000 last year.

On top of this, last year there were also 11,574 hospital admissions for patients whose main diagnosis is obesity.