Only Half Overweight Seriously Trying to Lose

by Charles Platkin, PhD

From Gallup Survey….


  • “31% think their weight is 20+ pounds more than it should be
  • Only about half of these are seriously trying to lose weight
  • Chances of being affected by age, gender, income

“In its annual and Healthcare survey, Gallup asks Americans to report their weight, and later, to say what their ideal weight should be. In 2015, the average weight for U.S. adults was 176 pounds, including an average 196 pounds for men and 155 pounds for women. The reported ideal weight is 161 pounds for national adults — 183 pounds for men and 139 pounds for women. Americans weigh an average of 15 pounds more than their perceived ideal weight.

For the group reporting their weight as 20 pounds or more above their ideal, the average self-reported actual weight was 213 pounds, including an average 237 for men and 193 for women.

These results generally echo findings from four previous Health and Healthcare surveys conducted from 2011-2014. Combining the results from the last five surveys allows a more in-depth look at how Americans view their actual weight compared with how much they think they should weigh:

  • About half of Americans (48%) estimate they are within 10 pounds of what they consider their ideal weight — 18% are at their ideal weight, 23% are no more than 10 pounds over it and 8% are no more than 10 pounds under it.
  • Among those under the age of 30, 14% estimate that they weigh at least 10 pounds less than what they should. That drops to 5% for those in their 30s, and less than 4% for those in their 40s and above.

In addition to the basic subgroup findings, the larger data set allows for a look at some smaller subgroups. Among the findings:

  • Women of all ages are more likely than men to estimate they are at least 20 pounds overweight. The differences are most pronounced for those in their 20s and 50s.
  • Unmarried men (25%) are less likely than married men (32%) to say they are at least 20 pounds overweight, while there is basically no difference between unmarried women (36%) and married women (35%).
  • Those without insurance, those with private insurance and those with Medicaid or Medicare are all about as likely to be 20 pounds or more overweight.”

Read the survey here>>>

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