The two in five Americans who described themselves as being overweight in Gallup's July 9-12 Consumption Habits poll was well below the percentage who actually are overweight.
In separate daily polling, Gallup and Healthways tracked U.S. adults' self-reported height and weight, and computed body mass index scores as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. These BMI calculations found 62.2 percent of U.S. adults were either overweight or obese, based on government definitions.
The inconsistency between the percentage who said they were overweight and the percentage who said they were overweight according to BMI calculations might be due to Americans' own reluctance to describe themselves as fat, Gallup officials said.
However, some U.S. adults might may be only a few pounds overweight and might consider their weight "about right," even if their BMI score would classify them as overweight, Gallup added.
Meanwhile, 55 percent of women said they worried about their weight, while 41 percent of men said they worried at least some of the time about their weight. In 1990, 46 percent of women said they worried about their weight, compared with only 21 percent of men.
The survey of 1,014 U.S. adults has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.