Fewer heavy peo­ple try­ing to lose weight, study finds

Austin American-Statesman - - 2017 TEXAS LEGISLATURE - By Lind­sey Tan­ner

Fewer over­weight Amer­i­cans have been try­ing to lose weight in re­cent years, and re­searchers won­der if fat ac­cep­tance could be among the rea­sons.

The trend found in a new study oc­curred at the same time obe­sity rates climbed.

“So­cially ac­cepted nor- mal body weight is shift­ing to­ward heav­ier weight. As more peo­ple around us are get­ting heav­ier, we sim­ply be­lieve we are fine, and no need to do any­thing with it,” said lead au­thor Dr. Jian Zhang, a pub­lic health re­searcher at Ge­or­gia South- ern Univer­sity.

An­other rea­son could be peo­ple aban­don­ing ef­forts to drop pounds af­ter re­peated failed at­tempts, Zhang said.

The re­searchers an­a­lyzed U.S. gov­ern­ment health sur­veys from 1988 through 2014. The sur­veys in­volved in-per­son phys­i­cal ex­ams and health-re­lated ques­tions in­clud­ing ask­ing par­tic­i­pants if they’d tried to lose weight within the past year. More than 27,000 adults aged 20 to 59 were in­cluded.

In the early sur­veys, about half the adults were over- weight or obese. Those num­bers climbed to 65 per­cent by 2014. But the por­tion of over­weight or obese adults who said they were try­ing to slim down fell from 55 per­cent to 49 per­cent.

Body mass index, a mea­sure of height and weight, de­ter­mines weight sta­tus. Those with a BMI of 25 to 29 are con­sid­ered over­weight; 30 and above is obese. A BMI of 30 gen­er­ally re­flects be­ing about 50 pounds above your ideal weight.

The study was pub­lished in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

Zhang said there’s a pos­i­tive side to fat ac­cep­tance, if it means peo­ple feel less ridiculed for their weight. But obe­sity can in­crease risks for heart dis­ease, di­a­betes, can­cer and other ail­ments.

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