From our body weight to our choice of literature, you may be surprised by all the things us ladies get wrong! Uncover some surprising female health mistakes and misconceptions with these 5 things every woman gets wrong.

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Body weight

We have bad news, ladies – according to research studies, we’re all fatter than we think! A British Government survey found that we are all guilty of underestimating our size, with women misjudging their weight the most. The study found that the average woman is 5lbs heavier than she thinks she is, and for women in their late 30s this goes up to 8lbs. Furthermore, nearly half of all parents of obese children thought their child was the right weight.

These results corroborate findings by Columbia University researchers which showed that overweight mothers tend to underestimate their own and their children’s weight. Experts believe many of us underestimate our weight in a bid to convince ourselves we’re not too far off our ideal size, while the lead author of the study of Columbia University believes it may also be because perception of weight has become skewed as obesity and being overweight are becoming the norm.

Body shape

Not only do many of us believe we weigh less than we actually do, according to research we are also not quite as curvaceous as we think. A study of about 3000 women commissioned by the Vitality Show showed that 27 per cent of women believed they had an hourglass figure – one of the most sought after body shapes – while only 21 per cent believed they were the less coveted apple shaped. However, in reality more than half had an apple shaped figure and far fewer women were hourglass shaped than they thought.

In fact, experts believe that just 8 per cent of women have the coveted hourglass shape, which is not only thought to be desirable to the opposite sex but is also believed to have health benefits including increased fertility and intelligence levels. Experts believe that the lifestyle of modern working women is to blame for the decline in the hourglass shape as stress increases the distribution of fat around the abdomen.

Reading material

You might not think your choice of novel has any implications on your wellbeing, however research by Virginia Tech has found that reading chick lit could be bad for your health. It is well-documented that many modern women (and men) suffer from body image issues and feel under pressure to look a certain way. However, while many put this down to the influence of underweight celebrities and models, the study suggests that fictional icons could be just as bad for your self-esteem.

The study looked at the effect of chick lit protagonists with low self esteem on readers, and found that reading about characters with low body confidence made female readers more aware of their own size. The participants reported feeling significantly less attractive when they read about a slim character and significantly more worried about their weight when they read about one with low self esteem. While this doesn’t mean you need to ditch chick lit entirely, choosing novels with characters with normal or high body confidence could help to give your own a boost.


Research shows that many women underestimate themselves both physically and intellectually, while men are more likely to overestimate their virtues. Research results published in the journal Psychological Science found that, when participants were placed in a setup described as “speed meeting” with members of the opposite sex and asked to rate the sexual interest of their partner, the men were more likely to overestimate their attractiveness and the interest of their partner, while most women underestimated their partner’s sexual interest.

Furthermore, an analysis of 25 studies by a professor at University College London showed that, although men and women tend to have the same average IQ, women also underestimate their intelligence while men overestimate theirs. Also, not only did female participants give a lower estimate of their own intelligence, both men and women tended to think their male relations were more intelligent than their female ones.


While your workouts may keep you fit and slim, research suggests that women are failing in one key aspect when it comes to exercise – improving strength. In fact, studies suggest that women are weaker than they have ever been, which may be because many focus purely on weight loss rather than strength. Concerns that muscles aren’t feminine are also a key factor in our dwindling strength. However, while you may not care about gaining muscles, poor muscle strength has many implications for our health, including increased risk of osteoporosis and back and joint pain.

Another mistake women make when it comes to workouts is following the same regimes as their partner. A new study by researchers at the University of Missouri shows that women and men respond to exercise and diet in different ways, and that women need to do a lot more exercise and pay more attention to their diet to reap the same results as men. While exercising with your partner is a great way to stay motivated, try to tailor your workout to get the results you want.