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Self Reporting

Friday, July 12, 2013

I was reading an article yesterday about a study on obesity in the US. Apparently, the study showed that Americans are getting more exercise, but we’re still gaining weight. I noticed the flaw in the study within the first paragraph of the story. The study was based on Self-Reported Data.

I see people all the time, who over-estimate how much physical activity they get.

I, for example, am up and down all day. I am running down stairs, running to and from the copier, running around finding people. I’m pretty active compared to my co-workers. Yet when I wore a pedometer, I discovered that I’m lucky to break 2,000 steps a day. It takes me a day of running around normally, PLUS a full hour’s walk during lunch to get the 10,000 steps a day that is recommended. So if I were to have guessed, beforehand, I probably would have WAY over estimated how much walking I do.

Then, let’s face it, some people lie. I had a friend who was morbidly obese. She would complain that her body simply didn’t lose weight. She told me that she worked out an hour a day, took walks, and ate only 1,500 calories a day. But once I really got to know her, and saw how she really lived, I realized she was lying. She never worked out. Her definition of “walking” was the distance from the couch to the fridge, and she consumed junk food like a mad woman. She simply wasn’t ready to change, but she felt like she had to give me the line, “I’m trying to lose weight” to keep from feeling embarrassed about her weight and lifestyle.

So it makes me really question how accurate the study could be if it’s based on data from people self-reporting.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Have you heard the old saying, "there is lies, damn lies and statistics"? The problem with statistics and studies like this is that they tell us something... not really sure what. You have to take all you read with a grain of salt. To me, this study says, people are getting fatter and more ashamed of themselves. Maybe the same shame that makes them lie about how much working out they do is driving them to not work out - simply because they are ashamed of their size. So our culture, in effect, has become schizophrenic - on one hand, the ready availability and copious advertizement of food, on the other, guilt and shame for those who are overweight, driving them to stay inside as much as possible and just consume more. So, think about it this way - if you are out there doing something about your health, you are already ahead of the rest of the population. emoticon emoticon
    1673 days ago
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