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Average BMI of Americans Is Increasing

More Americans are trying to lose weight.

Average American BMI

Looks like we all still have some work to do! The population’s average body mass index is increasing, even as more Americans are trying to lose weight, according to findings published in JAMA Network Open (2019; 2 [11], e1915219).

On nine occasions between 1999–2000 and 2015-2016, researchers from multiple universities gathered data from 48,026 participants enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Study authors wanted to identify trends in BMI, weight, self-perception and weight loss efforts. Data analysis showed that in 2015–2016, 42% of Americans tried to lose weight (up from 34.3% in 1999–2000), yet the percentage of Americans with obesity was almost 40% (up from 33.7% in 1999–2000). At the same time, fewer people perceived themselves as overweight.

Study authors recommend optimizing adherence by using weight loss strategies that consider a participant’s preferences and abilities.

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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