TUESDAY, March 7, 2017 (HealthDay News) — More Americans are overweight or obese, but many have given up on trying to lose those excess pounds, a new study shows.
One in every three people in the United States is now obese, compared with one in five 20 years ago, researchers report.
But people surveyed between 2009 and 2014 were 17 percent less likely overall to say they’d tried to lose weight during the previous year than those surveyed between 1988 and 1994, the study found.
“This is not good. We are missing the opportunity to stop overweight from becoming obesity,” said Zhang, who is an associate professor of epidemiology with Georgia Southern University.
Zhang and his colleagues analyzed data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a federally funded ongoing survey that keeps track of Americans’ health and diet habits.
All racial/ethnic groups across both genders reported decreased interest in weight loss, but women in particular were more likely to say they’d given up on it, the findings showed.
By 2014, black women were 31 percent less likely to have tried to lose weight compared with two decades prior, and white women were 27 percent less likely to have made the attempt, the researchers found.
People might be giving up on weight loss because it’s just too difficult, Zhang said.
“It’s painful,” he explained. “It’s hard to drop pounds. Many of us tried and failed, tried and failed, and finally failed to try anymore.”
Modern medicine also has gotten better at preserving the overall health of overweight people, perhaps causing them to ask why they should bother, Zhang continued.
“There’s increasing evidence that adults with overweight may live as long as and sometimes even longer than normal-weight adults, making many question whether you have to take it seriously,” Zhang said. “In clinical practice, we consider treatment of overweight only when patients have two or more additional risk factors,” such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.