Americans Gaining Weight, Not Losing

Americans Weigh In: Most have Gained Weight In Last 5 Years

From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 22, 2003 -- If you've noticed the scale tipping in the wrong direction lately, you're not alone. A new Gallup poll shows that nearly half of Americans have gained weight in the last five years.

Results show 44% of all Americans report having gained weight during this time period. It breaks down like this:

  • 9% gained what they consider "a lot of weight."
  • 35% gained what they consider "a little weight."

Weight gain proved common among all Americans. There was no marked difference among people of different backgrounds or characteristics. There were only modest differences among various demographic groups, the poll showed.

Few People Losing Weight

But not all have seen their waistline expand. Overall, 38% of Americans reported that they maintained their current weight and some (18%) -- though not many -- even lost a few pounds.

  • 7% lost what they considered "a lot of weight."
  • 11% lost what they considered "a little weight."

Biggest Weight Gain in Women

The poll showed that the number of men and women gained weight about equally -- 43% and 46%, respectively. But the elderly -- age 65 and older -- were best at winning the battle of the bulge. Only 36% in this group gained weight, compared with other age groups that weighed in at 42% to 47%. Women aged 18-49 showed the greatest gain, with 47% of them tipping the scales upward.

Education and income also played a role. People with no more than a high school education reported higher numbers of weight gain (50%) than other educational groups. Also people making less than $20,000 a year were slightly more at risk for weight gain than people earning $75,000 a year -- 47% versus 42%, respectively.

Researchers based their results on telephone interviews done in July with 1,000 adults who were at least 18 years old. The reported margin of error is +- three points.

Source: The Gallup Organization, August 2003.

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