Woman on scale

Is Your Weight Weighing You Down?

Those dreaded extra pounds: we all know they can stand in the way of our healthiest existence, as well as the ability to fit into our “skinny jeans.” But new research shows that obesity is actually linked to something with a lot of psychological impact: a lower social well-being.

A Gallup survey of more than 80,000 Americans found that those who are classified as obese were less likely to be thriving socially and more likely to be suffering than those who were at normal weight or even overweight. The group that seems to thrive most socially (43 percent of those surveyed) was the group of individuals in the normal weight category.

The social well-being scores were based on respondents’ answers to questions about the strength of their relationships with those around them, from their spouse to partners or close friends; positive energy gained from family and friends; making time for trips or vacations with them; and having someone who encourages them to be healthy. BMI scores were based on respondents’ self-reported height and weight. A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese, 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight, 18.5 to 24.9 is normal weight, and less than 18.5 is underweight. The majority of Americans are either overweight (35.3 percent) or obese (27.7 percent), and just over a third of Americans (34.9 percent) are a normal weight.

So why is that? Is it that a lower self-esteem leads to less strong social relationships and an unhealthy relationship with food? Or is it the other way around? Is it stereotyping or lack of social support?

Take a look at the data and ask yourself: is my weight influencing my social well-being? And, have you had your well-being checked? Take the free Gallup-Healthways Well-Being 5™ assessment to see where you stand.

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