A new study conducted by public health researchers in the United States and United Kingdom found that people who discover they are overweight are likely to gain more weight than those who don't realize they need to lose a few pounds. In other words, anti-obesity awareness campaigns, like the Let's Move! program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, can do more harm than good.
Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study examined data on 14,000 American and British adults over periods of seven to ten years. It "found consistent evidence that perceiving oneself as being overweight was associated with increased weight gain," often thanks to stress-based overeating following the revelation.
"It certainly goes against all the common wisdom that you must find all the overweight people and tell them," notes Dr. Traci Mann of the University of Minnesota. "This suggests that is not a good strategy.”