More than a third of Brits wrongly believe that obesity is a personal choice

Published: 12-Jun-2024

New survey uncovers widespread misunderstandings around obesity as a disease

Despite obesity's tremendous toll on public health and the economy, myths and misconceptions persist with more than one third (37%) of Brits mistakenly viewing it as a personal choice rather than a chronic medical disease and 43% attributing obesity to laziness.

More than a third of Brits wrongly believe that obesity is a personal choice

This is according to striking new independent research from Yazen Health, a leading digital provider of comprehensive, medically assisted weight loss treatment.

The results highlight a concerning disconnect between public perceptions and the biological drivers of obesity, as the medical community widely recognises obesity as a chronic disease that requires proper medical treatment and management.

"These findings underscore the need for greater public education around the complex factors that contribute to obesity," said Dr Martin Carlsson (pictured), cofounder and Chief Medical Officer of Yazen.

"Obesity is not simply a matter of willpower or lifestyle habits. It's a metabolic disorder influenced by genetics, hormones and other physiological aspects."

"With obesity raising risks for more than 200 conditions such as heart disease and cancer, we need to replace judgement with compassion and provide accessible, evidence-based obesity care that addresses the multifaceted drivers of this disease.”

It is estimated that 63.8% of adults in England are either overweight or obese, now costing the UK economy £98 billion annually.

Yet the survey found only 26% would consider accessing a proven regional weight loss programme. This is likely fueled by misguided beliefs that obesity is a personal choice (33%) or purely genetic (33%), rather than a chronic medical issue.

Other key highlights from the survey include the following:

  • 45% find it difficult to sustain motivation for healthy habits while balancing other priorities
  • 42% are rarely satisfied with their weight, with the dissatisfaction rate higher among women (48%) than men (36%)
  • 39% of respondents find it hard to make healthy choices while juggling work and family life.

"Our approach recognises that obesity is a complex chronic condition requiring holistic, medically guided management," noted Carlsson.

"Through our convenient digital model, we're empowering more people to overcome weight issues, improve metabolic health and live happier lives unburdened by obesity's stigmas and risks."


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