North Carolinians in serious denial about weight problems.

Brogan & Partners 10/02/07 - 12:00 am

Brogan Survey Finds Adult Obesity Nearly Eight Times Higher Than Residents Admit

[Raleigh, NC] – If the first step toward solving a problem is admitting that you have one, North Carolina residents haven’t yet taken that step toward solving the obesity crisis that plagues the state. That’s the finding of the latest Brogan Survey, a statewide poll of North Carolinians on topics ranging from health care to current events to the economy.

When asked how they would classify their own weight, only 3% of North Carolinians said they consider themselves obese. State data shows that obesity actual impacts 26.6% of residents – nearly 800% higher than residents acknowledged.

North Carolinians were somewhat more willing to admit that they were overweight, with 31.7% of respondents admitting they fall into that category. The actual level of overweight adults in the state is 36.2%.

“While it’s encouraging to see some folks admit they are overweight, the obesity numbers show a state in denial,” said Jim Tobin, partner at Brogan & Partners. “We know from the state data that 62.8% of North Carolinians are struggling with their weight. But only 34.7% acknowledge that. The other 28% are thinking state officials must be talking about someone else when they talk about weight problems.”

The survey shows that North Carolinians also are in denial about their children’s weight. While 19.3% of the North Carolina children are either overweight or obese (according to Trust For America’s Health), only 10% of parents indicated that their children would fall into these categories.

“We don’t want to make obesity into a social stigma, but we do want people to be aware of this because it has serious health consequences,” said Dr. Leah Devlin, State Medical Director in North Carolina. “We also need to recognize the role our society plays in this epidemic and invest in the needed resources to help people eat smart and move more”

Respondents to the Brogan survey were asked to classify their children’s weight in one of five categories; and they responded with the following:

Severely underweight 1.1%
Underweight 4.4%
About right 83.9%
Overweight 6.7%
Obese 3.3%

Answers were stratified by geography, age, race and gender, resulting in several interesting findings:

  • Only the Triangle had a response in the severely underweight category.
  • Every respondent in the Southern part of the state answered “about right”.
  • Charlotte had the highest rate of “overweight” and “obese” responses at 15.2%.
  • African-americans were twice as likely to consider their children obese or overweight with 16.7% responding in those categories compared to 7.8% for caucasians.

“It’s sad enough when adults make choices that can harm their long-term health as significantly as obesity can,” Tobin said. “But we have children with problems, and we need more parents not only recognizing the issues but working toward solutions. As a parent of three children, I understand that issue perfectly. But I also know that we have kids being set up for a lifetime of problems, and too many parents who don’t want to acknowledge it.”

The Brogan Survey is a 600-sample, random digit dial North Carolina general population survey, stratified by geography, ethnicity and gender. The live telephone survey was conducted from August 20 – 23, 2007 and has margin of error of +/- 4.0% with a confidence level of 95%. Questions in The Brogan Survey were not commissioned by any candidate, organization or company. The survey was conducted by Brogan & Partners research affiliate The Glengariff Group, Inc., of Chicago.

Brogan & Partners Convergence Marketing, established in 1984, specializes in advertising, behavior-based audience targeting, public relations, digital and diversity marketing. The firm has offices in suburban Detroit and Raleigh, service offices in Washington D.C. and Florida and an affiliate in Chicago.


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