As we enter the season of the year in which Americans typically gain at least a pound or two that never goes away, a new report from the Gallup Poll finds that as our actual weight drifts upward, so do our perceptions of what our "ideal" weight would be.
, the nation's leading polling organization has asked Americans yearly how much they weigh and what their ideal weight would be. Compared to Americans' answers to those questions in 1991, both numbers -- actual weight and ideal weight -- have risen, although "ideal" weights have not quite kept pace with actual weight gains.
The average man now weighs 196 pounds; the average woman weighs 160 pounds. Both figures are 20 pounds greater than self-reported weights in 1990.
But Americans' self-professed "ideal" selves have put on weight too. Women on average said their ideal weight should be 138 pounds -- up from 129 in 1991. Men on average said their ideal weight should be 181 pounds -- up from 171 in 1991.
Even after the adjustment, though, men and women were getting further and further from their ideal weight, said the
. Men were on average 15 pounds over their ideal weight and women were 22 pounds over their ideal. Much of the steady weight gain that comes with age, say
, appears to be the result of weight gain between the Thanksgiving holiday and
(an average of about a pound, though the average is much higher for those who are already obese). That weight gain tends to
for the next year.
Gallup's findings help paint a grim picture of mass delusion in the United States about its rising weight and the spate of health problems that come with it. American
of their childrens' weight, as well. The result: Primary care physicians, long reluctant to lecture their patients about weight loss, now
how best to break the news to patients and their parents that they are above their healthy weights.