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July 15, 1988

Do Obese Persons Mirror Thin Counterparts in Calorie Intake, Recall of Food Consumed?

JAMA. 1988;260(3):314. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410030024007

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AFTER YEARS of being accused of being lazy or untruthful in reporting food consumption, obese persons' reputations are being vindicated. A study at Memphis (Tenn) State University finds fat people no less accurate in their recall of food consumption than thin people, nor—and this may be more surprising— more likely to eat more.

This study follows on the heels of two others published earlier this year that showed that some obese persons may in fact be overweight because of a sluggish metabolism (N Engl J Med 1988; 318:461-472).

Numerous surveys of dietary intake, including the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, indicated that normal-weight and overweight persons ingest about the same number of calories (J Chronic Dis 1985;38:727732). In fact, in some studies, obese persons said they ate less.

"Either the obese truly are not eating more, or they're lying," says Robert C. Klesges, PhD, a Memphis State associate professor