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Post-Thanksgiving news shocker: Americans lie about their weight

November 29, 2010 | 11:16 am

Democrat First lady Michelle Obama talks up healthy foods to Miami students 11-10

Before breaking that brand-new post-Thanksgiving diet you were going to start at lunch today, some health news from Gallup.

The respected polling outfit reports that more than half of all Americans (54%) say they want to lose weight, while only half say they are seriously trying to do so.

Looking around the country after its favorite four days of approved gluttony, both of those numbers seem ridiculously high. And the Centers for Disease Control reported this fall the American obesity rate climbing dramatically.

Even the Obama family, whose matriarch has been traveling around the country preaching....

...more veggies and healthier eating, pigged out at Thanksgiving. Here's their complete dinner menu. Obviously trying to reduce calories, they had only two kinds of stuffing, only two kinds of potatoes and only six different pies.

Gallup finds that only 62% of Americans admit they weigh more than they ideally should. Something like 12 pounds too many for men (195) and 19 pounds for women (159).

That, however, is a self-reported number. Like how much President Obama self-reported his healthcare legislation was for sure going to cost. So maybe double or triple those poundage figures to be more accurate.

The president weighed 180 pounds at his last physical, which is only three pounds above what the poll finds the average American thinks is ideal.

His wife has not revealed her weight. But she has taken up the fight against obesity as her large cause.

Judging by separate Gallup numbers, the first lady's campaign is already having a real impact. Just since last summer the percentage of Americans self-reporting as "somewhat overweight" has dropped from 39% to 34%, while those self-admitting they are "Very Overweight" has plunged by a third, from 6% to 4%. Or, perhaps, Americans are just becoming more brazen and porkier liars.

Typically, more American women (61%) say they want to lose weight than men (45%). And more women (32%) than men (21%) say they are seriously trying to do so. Gallup observes:

Historically, far more Americans have reported being over their ideal weight than have said they are making a serious attempt to lose weight. This perpetual disconnect underscores the difficulties many Americans face in trying to slim down. It also highlights one of the key problems in reducing obesity nationwide: Although many Americans are aware that they weigh more than they should, most are not taking action to make a change.

So it would be perfectly understandable to start that diet next Monday. And don't forget the holidays are coming. So maybe early 2011 makes even more sense.

And since the federal government is taking up the obesity fight to change our eating habits, why not just leave the whole diet business to those folks?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Carl Juste / MCT (Obama talks up veggies to Miami students).