Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Study Shows Dangers for Women Who Are Overweight but Consider Themselves to Be Normal Weight

Nov. 22, 2010 -- Nearly one in four women who is overweight perceives her weight as normal, according to a new study.

The study also shows 16% of the normal-weight women studied had weight misperceptions, considering themselves overweight, says researcher Mahbubur Rahman, PhD, MBBS, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a senior fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

There were dangers with both groups of what he terms "misperceivers," he tells WebMD. "Overweight women who were misperceivers are less likely to have healthy weight-loss behaviors." Those of normal weight who thought they were overweight, likewise, had unhealthy behaviors, such as using diet pills or smoking.

The study is in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"The fact that people misperceive their body weight was already known," says Rahman, so the new research echoes some previous information. But in his study, he also wanted to see if the body weight misperceptions influenced health behavior.

Analyzing Height and Weight Data

Rahman obtained height and weight information from the medical charts of 2,224 women, ages 18 to 25.

The women answered questions about healthy weight-related practices in the 30 days prior -- including eating less, eating differently, or exercising. They also answered questions about unhealthy behaviors, such as the use of diet pills, use of diuretics, vomiting, laxative use for weight control, cigarette smoking, or skipping meals.

For the study, Rahman used the standard definitions for normal, overweight, and obese, with BMIs below 25 termed normal, those 25-29 overweight, and 30 and higher obese.

The women also answered questions about education, ethnicity, marital status, household income, employment, and Internet use.

The women were divided into four categories:

  • Overweight women who thought they were normal or underweight
  • Overweight women who knew they were overweight
  • Normal-weight women who thought they were overweight
  • Normal-weight women who thought they were normal or underweight

Weight Perceptions

In all, 1,162 women were overweight; of these, 895 considered themselves overweight and 267 did not.

The other 1,062 women were normal weight, with 892 of them perceiving themselves as normal or underweight but 170 thinking they were overweight.

Healthy Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.

Top searches: Chicken, Chocolate, Salad, Desserts, Soup

Heart Rate Calculator

Ensure you're exercising hard enough to get a good workout, but not strain your heart.

While you are exercising, you should count between...