The Grapevine

Anti-New Year's Resolution: Less Than Half Of Americans Want To Lose Weight, Gallup Poll Finds

Couch potato
Gallup finds half of Americans don't want to lose weight. Ian Burt CC BY 2.0

As the year comes to a close, many people will make New Year’s resolutions that are certainly doomed to fail. One of these wil undoubtedly be "to lose weight." And with rising obesity, rate's it would make sense more people are aiming for this goal. A recent Gallup poll, however, suggests otherwise; less than half of Americans actually want to lose weight.

For the first time in 25 years, only 49 percent of Americans reported the desire to diet. This is far lower than the 62 percent who reportedly wanted to lose a few pounds in 2004. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly one-third of Americans — more than 78 million people — are obese, with 35 percent of Americans over the age of 20 listed as overweight as well. Obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. 

Though around 37 percent of respondents said they felt “very” or “somewhat overweight,” and many said they'd like to lose weight, only 24 percent of them reported they were “seriously” attempting to. What's more, 56 percent of respondents reported they were ”about right” when asked to describe their weight. This is a higher percentage than those who responded from 1990 to 2008, but similar to what Gallup found in 2009. 

With nearly 70 percent of the American population being obese or overweight, those within the right weight range for their body type are in the minority. Still, around 41 percent of Americans reported they were happy with their current weight and weren’t trying to gain or lose any weight.

"If everybody looks like their friends, then you think that you're just normal weight," Dr. Holly Lofton, director of the Medical Weight Management Program at New York University Langone Medical Center, told Live Science. "But you're normal weight by American standards, not by medical standards."

So, why then are more people saying they don’t want to lose weight? Since Americans who said they were overweight also said they were looking to lose weight, Gallup concluded "that the decline in the percentage of Americans wanting to lose weight is more attributable to fewer people saying they are overweight, than to overweight people being less likely to say they want to lose weight.”

Whatever the case may be, if you are one of the less than 50 percent of Americans keeping “lose weight” as part of your New Year’s resolutions, make sure you know how to do it properly.

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