Utahns are in denial. In the first ever Utah Health Values Study (2017), Utahns underestimated the level of overweight and obesity in Utah. On average, Utahns think only 45% of people in Utah are overweight or obese. In reality the rate in 2016 was closer to 60%.
Utahns incorrectly categorized their own weight. For example, only 11% of survey participants said they are very overweight, but in reality 30% were obese according to self-reported height and weight. In addition, 43% of those who think they are just a little overweight are actually obese based on BMI.
Utahns think they are healthier than their neighbors. However, only half of Utahns report that they get the recommended amount of physical activity each week and while a majority of Utahns self-report that they eat right, research shows they likely do not.
Why does this matter?
Our health has a huge impact on our ability to do the things we want to do, can limit our quality of life, and can affect relationships with family and friends. But if we don’t know how healthy (or unhealthy) we are, we won’t know what changes we need to make. Obesity is linked to a number of health problems and chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers, but Utahns need to accurately recognize if they are currently obese or are at risk for obesity.
What is the Get Healthy Utah Health Values Study?
Get Healthy Utah is a collaborative effort aimed at creating a culture of health through encouraging and facilitating active lifestyles and healthy eating. Get Healthy Utah contracted with Envision Utah and Heart+Mind Strategies to conduct the first ever Utah health values study. If we want to create a stronger culture of eating right and being physically active, we need to understand what Utahns think, know, and feel about their health – this study is the first step in that process. The results of the study help provide a sense of what Utahns think about their health.
Check out the local news coverage of this historic study.