A woman takes part in an aerobics class in Los Guidos de Desamparados July 23, 2015. More than 300 women participated in a physical health program organized by Andrea Abarca, which aims to combat obesity and sedentary behavior in poor women living in a slum. The National Nutrition Survey shows that the Costa Rican population has 62.4 percent of adult men who are obese , while Reuters

The finding of a new study finally explains how obese or overweight people subsequently gain weight after they recognise personal weight problems than those who are unaware that they may be heavier than what is ideal according to medical standards. The study contrasts the common thought that people with weight problem need to recognise the fact in order to do something about their weight issues.

The new study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, raises a difficult issue on the public health intervention works of health experts to fight against obesity. Individuals, who described themselves as being “overweight,” whether true or just a feeling, were more likely to report overeating or otherwise comfort-eat in response to stress that results to weight gain, researchers found.

Obesity is a “stigmatised condition” in society, which when an individual realises s/he is overweight, would be quite stressful and makes picking healthy choices in their lifestyle more difficult, said Eric Robinson of the Institute of Psychology at Liverpool University, research leader, and colleagues in California and Stirling .

In the study, researchers reviewed the data from 14,000 adults in the United States and the United Kingdom gathered from three studies: the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the UK National Child Development Study and Midlife in the United States. The date has been analysed from time periods after the children had reached adulthood to observe their perception of their own weight and the weight they have gained over time.

The combined data from all three studies shows “consistent evidence that perceiving oneself as being overweight was associated with increased weight gain.” However, there is no specific explanation on exactly what people were doing in the period of realising their weight problem, researchers said, whether they habitually overeat or embark on crash diets which lead to rapid weight loss,followed by even greater weight gain.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are more than 1.9 billion overweight adults worldwide, and at least 600 million are clinically obese. The estimate came from most of the countries where being overweight and obese kill more people than being underweight, WHO reports.

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