What Women (Really) Want: Healthier Habits or a Tummy Tuck?

Tummy tuck or healthier diet?The average woman may be teetering on the brink of obesity, but she?s more willing to have a tummy tuck than to eat healthier, according to a new Associated Press-iVillage poll released Monday, May 11, 2009.

The survey of 1,000 adult women found that the average female?s BMI (body mass index) is 29, which is officially overweight and just a few pounds shy of obese. The higher a woman?s BMI, the greater her risk of conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

It?s not that women aren?t aware of the scale; 81 percent of respondents reported that they had weighed themselves within the last 30 days. So either people don?t know what constitutes an unhealthy weight, or they?re unable?or unwilling?to make the necessary lifestyle changes that can shrink their waistlines, says cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, M.D.

?People hear all the time that they have to go on a diet, lose weight, eat vegetables,? says Dr. Goldberg, author of Dr. Nieca Goldberg?s Complete Guide to Women?s Health. ?But nobody tells people how they can implement that into their daily lives. Stomach surgery is not the panacea for losing weight; women need to know that maybe if they ate more fruits and vegetables, they could fix that problem.?

Yet only 8 percent of women actually eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, according to the poll. The good news: Participants reported getting an average of 139 minutes of exercise per week, which is close to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans? suggestion of 150 minutes?though it remains clear that exercise alone is not enough to control weight.

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