In this day and age when we hear about women having body image issues because of all the thin women they see in magazines and on TV, I expected that studies would show that people who are obese see themselves as more overweight than they really are. However, a study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas found that most people who are obese don't see themselves as obese. And worse yet, they don't think they are at increased risk for health issues.
Another study found that the rate of metabolic syndrome in the United States has increased.
It's no wonder that a group of health and fitness leaders who met earlier this month at the Washington Ideas Forum to talk about the obesity epidemic agreed that too many Americans lack basic knowledge about health, fitness and nutrition and that lack of knowledge blinds Americans to the fact that they are unhealthy.
What does this mean for our industry? It means that we may have a bigger task ahead of us than any of us thought. I never thought that unhealthy people wouldn't know they were unhealthy. How do you attract someone to your club who doesn't know they need your club?
It sounds to me like more people in the industry need to get out and speak to community groups to educate their market about what healthy is. That's the first step: get people to see what healthy looks like and then hand them a mirror so they can see that the reflection in the mirror is an unhealthy one. Once they accept that they need help, you can be there to show them the way.