ANALYSIS: Facts About Obesity Survey

Define the causes of obesity and you can avoid or eliminate them. Obesity can be caused by the obvious; a sedentary lifestyle, consuming massive calories. As well as the less obvious; chronic dieting, not eating breakfast or grocery shopping without a list. By defining specific causes you can correct them. How many of these influence your current weight situation?

Questions 3, 9, 18, 32, 34, 35, 36, 39, 55 and 67 are all questions about various causes of obesity. Like many questions in this survey, #34 and 55 are disguised questions. Defining a cause of obesity is the purpose of the questions.

3. Select one of the following causes of obesity most responsible for your overweight condition.
  • overeating (14%)
  • poor food choices (12%)
  • sedentary lifestyle (30%)
  • chronic dieting (44%)
39. What are your primary causes of obesity, overweight and failed diets?
  • cravings (1%)
  • hunger (1%)
  • emotional rebellion (2%)
  • all of the above (96%)

Compare questions #3 and #39 and you see how similar they are. Both are direct questions asking to identify personal causes of obesity. The available answers in #3 are general in nature while the participants selections are more specific in question #39. Same question, a different choice of answers to select from.

While responses to question #3 were no surprise, #39 was. 96% said CRAVINGS, HUNGER and EMOTIONAL REBELLION were primary causes of obesity and failed diets. Combine 96% blaming ALL OF THE ABOVE with the top two vote getters in question #3 -- SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE (30%) plus CHRONIC DIETING (44%) and the total is 74%. A valid assumption would be at least 74% of the survey participants felt that a sedentary lifestyle and chronic dieting were a prime cause of obesity. While 96% sited suffering from the symptoms of dieting -- hunger, cravings and emotional rebellion -- which 44% said was their prime cause of obesity.

Many of the survey's participants admitted never thinking about many of these questions before taking the survey. I don't think overweight people think about their own personal causes of obesity. Most have a vague understanding of why they are overweight but not specific, identifiable, avoidable and correctable causes of obesity. It's also evident that the participants do not consider dieting a natural or organic process. But rather a process that causes hunger, cravings and emotional rebellion.

We're in a hole and we keep digging. If diets are statistically proven to fail, let's try more diets. If repeated dieting causes repeated weight gain, let's try more diets!

Dieting is a CAUSE of obesity. Not a cure for it. Little research on obesity exists about the long term effects of dieting on the metabolism, heart, liver, kidneys and other organs. Let alone dependable data about how chronic dieters are prone to regain 10-25% more weight after each diet.

These findings are inarguable on two points. First, people hate to diet. Second, those that diet repeatedly and gain additional weight with each regain are victims of Diet Disease. One of the most avoidable causes of obesity. Diets didn't work for my clients, but a healthy diet plan combined with a slight increase in physical activity does. To continue down the same sorry path to weight loss failure is illogical and doesn't make sense yet millions do everyday.

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9. Do you keep up with current facts about obesity and modern nutrition?
  • yes (5%)
  • no (83%)
  • sometimes (2%)
  • rarely (10%)
32. Do you consider yourself informed concerning the current health facts about obesity and overweight?
  • very informed (22%)
  • somewhat informed (22%)
  • not informed (51%)
  • don't care, in the dark (5%)

These two questions seem identical at first glance. Analyze the results and it gets bizarre. But the message is clear. In #9, 83% say they do NOT keep up with current facts about obesity and modern nutrition. In #32, 44% claim to be SOMEWHAT INFORMED. The contradiction comes from interpretation. The participants considered question #9 a question about "keeping up with modern nutrition" while question #32 was perceived as "concerned about" health facts and obesity.

More of the participants considered themselves informed about obesity health issues while 83% admitted to not keeping up with current facts. Which would you prefer? Being guilty of not being informed about a serious health danger or not keeping up with the flavor of the month diet?

Participants in this survey were all overweight. More than 30% for the majority of their life. Most were experts in the art of dieting and regaining weight, but few had a clue to healthy nutrition. My clients believed that a healthy diet plan consisted of rocks, stones, straw and cardboard. This simply is not the case. See my 28 Day Diet Diary for an excellent example of a genuine and proven healthy diet plan.

Participants of this survey validate that an understanding of real nutrition is necessary before any lasting weight loss progress can be made! 83% didn't have a clue! That speaks volumes.

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67. How many calories do you consume daily?
  • 1200-1800 (14%)
  • 1900-2500 (14%)
  • 2600-3200 or more (19%)
  • no idea (53%)

Another disguised question to validate more causes of obesity. 72% admit eating 2500 or more calories per day, or worse, had NO IDEA how many calories they consumed. People who are in the dark about how many calories they consume are generally in the dark about how many calories they burn. Another of the preventable causes of obesity. Not knowing your calorie consumption to calorie burning ratio.

You lose weight by burning more calories than you consume. The amount of weight you lose is in direct proportion to the difference between calories consumed and calories burned. You must know how many calories you eat to know what and how many calories to reduce for weight loss.

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55. Do you use a list when shopping at the grocery store?
  • yes, always (13%)
  • no, never (13%)
  • sometimes, it depends (37%)
  • rarely, only when I have to (37%)

One of the most costly and avoidable causes of obesity is grocery shopping without a list. Nine out of 10 times you buy more. The extras you put in your cart are not usually bags of fresh apples. This disguised question doesn't ask "Do you think NOT using a grocery list when shopping is a cause of obesity?" Instead it simply asks a group of overweight veteran dieters, "Do you use a list shopping at the grocery store." A mind boggling 87% do not make a practice of using a grocery list.

Let's examine the benefits of using a list. You save time in the store. You save money because you're less prone to over-buy or buy compulsively. Most importantly you can improve the nutritional value of your meals by planning.

Add this to the many avoidable causes of obesity. Use a shopping list and increase your possibility of weight loss success significantly.

Teaching my clients how to grocery shop was very gratifying, but also one of the most effective ways I helped people lose weight. The findings about grocery shopping on this survey disturbed me because I've seen how a simple grocery list can transform a get-fat-as-you-can diet into a sensible, healthy diet plan that reduces calories 40%, tastes better and is more satisfying. Shopping smartly at the grocery store is not rocket science but a little planning and a list is mandatory to lose weight sensibly and easily.

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18. How much time per day can you allocate to exercise or physical activity?
  • 30 minutes (34%)
  • 60 minutes (32%)
  • 90 minutes (29%)
  • no time (5%)
36. How many days per week do you currently exercise for 30 continuous minutes?
  • 0-1 (63%)
  • 2-3 (23%)
  • 4-5 (9%)
  • 6-7 (5%)

Compare these two questions and you see another obvious and preventable cause of obesity -- lack of physical activity. In question #18, 95% said they had sufficient time to allocate at least 30 minutes a day for exercise. Question #36 reveals 63% exercised only 0-1 time per week. Only 14% said they exercised more than four times per week.

We search for the magic pill, supplement or other instant weight loss miracle to do the job for us. You may be able to lose weight without physical activity if you starve but facts prove you won't keep it off. If you want to live a naturally thin life then daily physical activity is a must. Virtually impossible to attain without it.

The participants in the survey admitted to having the time to exercise while massively ignoring the opportunity to do so. A sedentary lifestyle is the end result of poor physical activity habits. One of the more well known causes of obesity is validated with questions 18 and 36. You have to move to make muscle. Muscle gobbles 70 calories per pound per day while a pound of fat only burns 3 calories per day. Find a physical activity you enjoy. The best exercise program for you is the one you will do. Low impact, easy exercise like walking is a big weight loss opportunity. USE IT. Build muscle and you can eat more and WEIGH LESS!

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34. How often do you eat breakfast in a week?
  • 0-1 (10%)
  • 2-3 (35%)
  • 4-5 (30%)
  • 6-7 (25%)

You wouldn't expect this to be a question about the cause of obesity until you consider the facts. When you start everyday with a wholesome breakfast you increase the possibility of weight loss success by 400%. Breakfast is proven to reduce hunger and cravings throughout the day while making your metabolism more efficient. As this survey indicates, skipping breakfast is a common trait of overweight folks.


45% of participants in the survey say they eat breakfast less than three times per week. Only 25% eat breakfast everyday. I find it revealing that every naturally thin person I know eats breakfast daily while a big majority of overweight people skip it on a regular basis. There may be a connection!

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35. How many dinners do you eat at home every week?
  • 0-1 (4%)
  • 2-3 (37%)
  • 4-5 (39%)
  • 6-7 (20%)

If you don't eat dinner at home where do you eat? What do you eat? How much do you eat? It's a proven fact that the average person will consume an additional 100 (or more) calories per meal eating in restaurants than eating at home. Only one in five survey participants said they eat dinner at home at least six times per week. While a disturbing 41% said they eat less than three dinners at home every week.

Portion sizes are large in restaurants. You can't control sodium, fat and calorie content. Liquid calories can increase by 300% if soda or alcohol is consumed. The more often you eat in restaurants, the less likely you will achieve lasting weight loss success. When you eat at home you eat better quality food. You control ingredients, portions and type of preparation. It's hard to beat those odds.

When you eat 75% of your meals at home you double the likelihood of successfully losing AND MAINTAINING your ideal weight.

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