Some people could be putting off obesity treatment due to distorted images of their bodies.
Research conducted by bariatric surgeon David Kerrigan, has revealed that 50 per cent of weight loss patients have a "distorted perception" of their body shape.
According to Dr Kerrigan, this could indicate a trend among larger patients to "go into denial about the true extent of their weight problem".
The research discovered that people with a body mass index (BMI) of 50 or over were more likely to underestimate their body image, perhaps as a way of hiding from the health risks associated with obesity.
Those with a BMI of between 30 and 50 were more likely to overestimate their BMI.
Dr Kerrigan suggested this could be because "they feel guilty, embarrassed and dogged by low self-esteem and depression, and therefore have a tendency to an exaggerated perception as to how large their body is".