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Not all women hate their bodies

May 7, 2009 |  2:59 pm

Mirror Overweight and obese women being treated at an inner-city family-planning clinic apparently don't assess their physical characteristics in quite the same way that medical professionals do. They tend to like their bodies.

In a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, most overweight and obese women underestimated their body size when comparing silhouettes of body shapes -- and some of them chose heavy silhouettes as their personal ideal.

Previous research had found ethnic differences in whether or not people see themselves as overweight or obese. And this study confirms that African American and Hispanic women are especially likely to underestimate their body size. (The few white women in the study overestimated their body size.)

The researchers, from Temple University, are understandably chagrined by all of this. They point out that the health risks of being overweight mean women ignore reality at their own peril. And they say the findings show the need for more education about the negative effects of "excessive body size."

It's true. Of course it is, but ...

Physical self-appreciation among women is so very rare. Here's hoping that the education doesn't actually do damage.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Self-perceptions, as with reflections, vary by person.

Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times