Study shows we've given up losing weight

Published: 13 March 2017


It’s the general assumption that if you’re a little on the ‘heavier’ side it’s likely you’ve tried losing weight.

However, a new landmark study has found that people are giving up trying to strip back their waist line, making obesity the new normal.

The research, conducted in the US and reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found a growing number of American adults who are either overweight or obese aren’t bothering to go on a diet.

According to reports, between 1988 and 1994, about 56 percent of overweight or obese adults said they had tried to lose weight in the last year.

But by between 2009 and 2014, the number of overweight or obese respondents reporting weight-loss attempts had declined to about 49 percent.

The alarming figures come following concerns that almost 66 percent of Americans are now overweight or obese compared to 62 percent in 2004 and 53 percent in 1994.

Fairfax Media reports that about 64 percent of Australians are also now obese or overweight.

“Adults who were overweight but not quite in the obesity range "put forth the least weight loss effort," leader author Andrew Hansen from Georgia Southern University said.

He went on to explain that the largest decrease in weight loss effort were among African-American women.

“These decreases in weight loss attempts happened at a time when overweight and obesity increased from about 52 per cent in 1988-1994 to 66 per cent in 2009-2014," Dr Hansen said.

"With acceptable body weight shifting to a heavier weight, some do not see a need and view themselves as just right.

"Often, individuals will compare themselves to others around them. So, if most people in a person's social circles are overweight, then overweight is viewed as normal to them."

Meanwhile, Jane Martin of the Obesity Policy Coalition in Victoria, told Fairfax Media that being a healthy weight is no longer the norm.

"Not only is overweight normalised, highly processed unhealthy food is normal," she said.

"If you are in a group with unhealthy weight, you stick with the group, and you have the same habits, (and) maybe it is more comfortable to be like them."