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AARP Research

Weight Loss Among the 18+

In light of rising obesity rates, the findings from this survey present an optimistic view of weight loss in America. 

Key findings include: 

  • Most people are “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current weight (61%).
  • Given our cultural bias toward thinness among women, it is not surprising that women are more dissatisfied with their current weight than men (37% of females vs. 26% of males are “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied”).  
  • No significant differences were found between younger adults (18-49 year olds) and older adults (50+) regarding their satisfaction with their current weight.
  • While most (64%) people have tried to lose weight at some point in their life, women (73%) are significantly more likely than men (56%) to say they have tried to lose weight.  Older adults (69%) are more likely than younger adults (61%) to say they have tried to lose weight.  We do not know if this is because they have lived longer, or have experienced age-associated weight gains.
  • When we look at those who are currently trying to lose weight, we once again find women (55%) are more likely than men (45%) to say they are trying to do this.
  • By far, the main reason given for trying to lose weight is “to get healthy” (61%).
  • The strategies people use to lose weight vary by age.  Younger adults (93%) are more likely than older adults (80%) to say they “exercise” to achieve their weight loss goals.  Older adults (90%), on the other hand, are more likely than younger adults (80%) to say they “eat less.”
  • Most people are satisfied with their attempts to lose weight and to maintain their weight loss.  More than seven in ten people (72%) report being satisfied with their weight loss.  More than six in ten people (66%) report being satisfied with their ability to maintain their weight loss.  These results did not vary by age or gender.

This random-digit dial telephone omnibus survey of 1,006 respondents age 18+ was fielded August 7 – August 11, 2013 . For more information, contact Linda Barrett at 202-434-6197.

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