More and more Americans are passing on dieting this year. (GIF: Yahoo Health/Getty Images)
While it may seem as if “everyone” is starting a new diet this week, a recent survey states otherwise.
According to a Gallup poll conducted in late 2015, just about half of Americans (49 percent) self-reported they would like to lose weight, which is down from 62 percent back in 2001 through 2008. In fact, this is the first time in at least 25 years that less than 50 percent of people were hoping to shed a few pounds.
Here are a few additional weight-related findings from this latest survey:
- Just 24 percent of adults reported they are “seriously trying to lose weight,” which is the lowest outcome from 2002
- 41 percent of adults said they would like to stay at their current weight
- Nearly one in 10 adults have the desire to put on weight
There’s another body trend revealed in this poll: Americans are less likely to label themselves as being overweight. A little more than one-third of adults say that are “very” or “somewhat overweight”—a number that has been declining since 1990 when just about half of those polled (48 percent) considered themselves to be overweight.
For the most part, the majority of Americans (56 percent) consider their current number on the scale as “about right.”
However, according to a previous statistic released by Gallup last year, the obesity rate in this country rose to 27.7 percent—the highest rate recorded since Gallup and Healthways, a company that focuses on health and well-being, began tracking adults’ body mass index (BMI) in 2008. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that number is even higher, reporting that more than one-third—34.9 percent of 78.6 million—adults in the US are obese.
So why aren’t more people taking on their battle of the bulge?
“I think there are a few main reasons less Americans are trying to lose weight,” Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, tells Yahoo Health. She believes a portion of this trend may have something to do with a certain way of thinking.
“Many people, as evident by the poll, would like to lose weight, but they are not actively trying since they are just not in the right state of mind,” explains Palinski-Wade. “Losing weight—and keeping it off—requires commitment and daily effort. In order to be successful, you have to be ready to make the dietary changes necessary and stick with it. And although some individuals may love to be at a lower weight, they just are not in the right mindset or do not have the time or motivation currently to put in the effort.”
On the other hand, she feels that others may be determined to improve—or manage—a disease rather than slip into their first pair of skinny jeans. “For instance, someone newly diagnosed with diabetes may be more focused on improving blood glucose levels than losing weight at this time, although they would also love to lose weight as well,” she says.
But overall, she also feels that a percentage of the population may be looking at their body through a new set of eyes. “I think a shift is starting to be seen from a focus on the number of the scale to overall fitness and health,” states Palinski-Wade. “Someone may not be actively trying to shed pounds, but may be working to ‘eat clean’ or increase fitness, strength and endurance to boost health.”
Body-Peace Resolution is Yahoo Health’s January initiative to motivate you to pursue wellness goals that are not vanity-driven, but that strive for more meaningful outcomes. We’re talking strength, mental fitness, self-acceptance — true and total body peace. Our big hope: This month of resolutions will inspire a body-peace revolution. Want to join us? Start by sharing your own body-positive moments on social media using the hashtag #bodypeaceresolution