NOV 20, 2019 6:10 PM PST

Americans Continue to Gain Weight Despite Increased Weight loss Efforts

WRITTEN BY: Abbie Arce

Body mass index (BMI) is an important health measure. BMI is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.” High BMIs can be an indicator of excess body fat, but can be highly inaccurate depending on an individual’s body type. Though these measurements are helpful and identifying obesity, they must be evaluated by an expert who can differentiate between a person who is a healthy weight and a person who does not.

While the accuracy of BMI varies from person to person, it is a useful tool for gauging fat gains or losses in any given person by comparing against their previous scores. These measurements are often used as a baseline in fitness centers to help people track their progression. That said, overall, the BMIs of Americans is increasing, despite additional efforts at weight loss.

A study, published in JAMA Network Open, mentions this is likely occurring for a few reasons. One of the assumed reasons for these contradicting trends is that although people may be attempting to lose weight more often, their adherence may be very low, or they may be putting in minimal effort. Many people who have never exercised before struggle with knowing just how much exercise is enough. Therefore, a person could report having tried a fitness plan for weight loss within the past year but had unsatisfactory results due to their not sticking with the fitness routine.

Though it is a move in a positive direction for people to be attempting to lose weight, adherence is a vital component to success.

According to the study, American adults who self-reported attempts at losing weight jumped from 34 to 42% from 1999 to 2016. Despite these reports, rates of obesity rose as well, jumping from 33.7% percent in 2007 to 39.6% in 2016.

Researchers have suggested that exercisers take the time to develop appropriate, effective, realistic weight-loss strategies. This way, more American adults are likely to experience real results.

Not only can losing weight help people feel better about their appearance, it can also help prevent or reverse cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This is an incredibly important consideration as heart disease (HD) currently kills more Americans than any other cause, and obesity is a known HD risk factor. 

Sources:Penn MedicineCenters for Disease ControlJAMA

About the Author
  • Abbie is an AFAA certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with an interest in all things health-science. She has recently graduated with her BS in Applied Sport and Exercise Science from Barry University in Miami. Next, she intends to earn an MPH with a focus in Epidemiology.
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