What is the Current State of Weight Loss in the U.S.?

CDC Weight LossIn 2018, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published weight loss data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. According to the CDC web-site, the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations.”

Key Findings from the Period 2013-2016

  • 49.1% of U.S. adults tried to lose weight in the last 12 months.
  • More women (56.4%) than men (41.7%) tried to lose weight.
  • Ethnically, the percentage of adults trying to lose weight broke down as follows:
    • Non-hispanic white (49.4%)
    • Hispanic (49.1%)
    • Non-hispanic black (48.0%)
    • Asian (41.4%)
  • From the perspective of family income, the percentage of adults who tried to lose weight increases with income, as shown below:
    • 53.7% of adults with higher family income (defined as having a family income greater than 350% of the federal poverty level [FPL])
    • 48.7% of adults with middle family income (greater than 130% to less than or equal to 350% of FPL)
    • 42.9% of adults with lower family income (less than or equal to 130% of FPL)
  • From the perspective of current weight status:
    • 66.7% of adults with obesity tried to lose weight
    • 49.0% of overweight adults tried to lose weight
    • 26.5% of underweight or normal weight adults tried to lose weight
  • Of the adults who tried to lose weight, the most commonly reported methods were:
    • Exercising (62.9%)
    • Eating less food (62.9%)
    • Eating more fruits, vegetables, and salads (50.4%)


Clearly, we have an obesity epidemic in this country and it is a serious problem. Obesity has been shown to lead to a variety of different disease states. As people get fatter, they get sicker. Our healthcare system is struggling to keep up. If you are obese or overweight, please consider losing weight and getting healthy.

For additional weight loss articles, see Innovative Ways to Lose Weight and Belly Fat and Weight Loss.


Attempts to Lose Weight Among Adults in the United States, 2013–2016

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