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As the Government grapples with obesity, almost half of all British women and a third of men admit their weight is ‘out of control,’ a shocking survey reveals.

The fatter people are, the less in control they feel about not only their eating but all aspects of their life - including money and jobs. A full 55 per cent of the very obese feel their finances are spiralling.

But despite their concerns about their size, 38 per cent of adults would break their commitment to a diet if their partner simply suggested a takeaway.

Amazingly 13 per cent of the very obese claim they DO feel in control of their diet, says the survey by weight loss experts LighterLife.

The fascinating facts reveal how people really feel about the control they have over important aspects of their lives.

It lifts the lid on a world where many have just ‘given up,’ according to LighterLife founder Bar Hewlett.

The nationally representative poll, conducted by BMRB, also quizzed 995 adults on what they thought of other people and how successful they are in running their lives through a series of images.

The results showed that:

· Nearly a half of all women – 46 per cent – feel out of control of their weight, compared with 30 per cent of men – a total of 18 million people in the UK

· As bodyweight increases, the percentage feeling “out of control” also increases from 14 per cent of those of normal weight, to 42 per cent among the overweight, 73 per cent of obese people, and an alarming 87 per cent of the very obese

· A full 38 per cent of Britons would break a diet at their partner’s suggestion of a takeaway – with 48 per cent of obese people, saying they would succumb

· A quarter of people of healthy weight admit feeling out of control of their money, but this rises to 55 per cent among the very obese

Survey respondents were then shown a series of pictures including people smoking, drinking, and cooking, while researchers recorded their Body Mass Index (BMI) as 20-25 (normal weight), 26-29 (overweight), 30-39 (obese) and 40+ (very obese).

They were then asked who looked the most “in control”.

· A male cook, perhaps an image influenced by Jamie Oliver, was thought to be most in control with 95 per cent agreeing, followed by a cyclist at 92 per cent, and a runner at 88 per cent

· A stressed worker was seen as the most out of control, at 91 per cent, followed by an obese woman at 88 per cent, and a smoker at 57 per cent

· The obese woman drew a consistent response from all weight groups, with around 88 per cent saying “out of control” – even among those who admitted to being out of control themselves

· The view of smoking amongst the younger generation showed a marked difference with older people, with 62 per cent of 16-24-year-olds saying a female smoker appeared out of control compared to 49 per cent among 45-55-year-olds

· Views of younger people were reversed, though, when it came to a woman pictured with a glass of wine – a greater percentage said she was in control – 84 per cent – sliding down to 71 per cent among those aged 55-64

Bar Hewlett said: “It’s alarming just how many people feel out of control of their weight and how this hopelessness affects other parts of their lives.

“It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you actually are in determining how in control you feel about your money, but there is a correlation with your weight.”

She added feeling “out of control” could prompt a downward spiral. But by taking positive action to say losing weight could have a major impact on the rest of their lives.

“If you start to feel more in control of one aspect, you may gain the confidence to change something else.”


Note to editors – the results also included:

How respondents felt about themselves (totals):

In control (men/women)

Friendships 82/87
Family 78/82
Money 70/63
Job 65/55
Weight 67/52

Out of control (men/women)

Friendships 13/9
Family 16/13
Money 27/34
Job 19/17
Weight 30/46

And how they judged others – via images of….

In control (men/women)

Healthy male cook 93/97
Cyclist 91/92
Runner 64/91
Woman with wine 84/79
Business pizza 73/78
Slim girl 64/63
Female smoker 29/27
Obese woman 5/5
Stressed worker 4/2

Out of control (men/women)

Healthy male cook 2/1
Cyclist 3/3
Runner 3/3
Woman with wine 9/10
Business pizza 16/12
Slim girl 22/26
Female smoker 56/58
Obese woman 89/88
Stressed worker 89/93

Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations were based on the World Health Organisations (WHO) recommendations of:

· Up to 18.5: underweight
· 18.5 to up to 25: normal weight
· 25 up to 30: overweight
· 30 up to 40: obese
· 40 or more: very obese

For further information contact:

Anna Harris / Alan Murray, MurrayPR 020 7544 0016; 07887 877077;

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Murray PR in the following categories: Health, for more information visit