High blood pressure, high cholesterol and strokes were fairly low on the list. Infertility didn’t get a mention.
Also, 5 percent put respiratory problems on the list. Studies show people who are overweight are at increased risk of sleep apnea and asthma, and that dropping pounds can help improve their symptoms.
Knowing more about the myriad ways obesity affects health could help motivate people to get more active and eat better before full-blown disease strikes, Dimitriou said.
“Most people want to become healthier. It’s the know-how, and understanding what the consequences are,” she said.
But only 52 percent of those surveyed said they’ve discussed the health risks of being overweight with a doctor.
In another complication, the AP-NORC Center survey found that about half of people think their weight is just about right, and only 12 percent of parents think their child is overweight. That’s even though government figures show two-thirds of U.S. adults, and one-third of children and teens, are either overweight or obese.
If you’re surrounded by overweight people, especially in your family, “then that’s all you know, and that to you is normal,” Dimitriou said.
The AP-NORC Center survey was conducted Nov. 21 through Dec. 14. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,011 adults nationwide and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.