fbpx Skip to content


Excess Weight Gain Among Americans

CDC and HHS data show 42.4% of U.S. adults are obese.

| Earn 1 CEC - Take Quiz

Person with excess weight gain running

Fit pros may want to start early and help young people launch healthy eating and exercise habits, as new research shows most adult excess weight gain occurs in the first decade of adulthood.

Brigham Young University researchers in Salt Lake City analyzed excess weight gain data over time from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Over a 10-year period, more than half of American adults gained 5% or more body weight; more than one-third of American adults gained 10% or more and almost one-fifth gained 20% or more body weight. Notably, the greatest weight gains occurred in young and middle-aged adults, with the biggest gain occurring in adults between their 20s and 30s.

“The U.S. obesity epidemic is not slowing down,” said lead study author Larry Tucker, PhD, professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University. “Without question, a 10-year weight gain is a serious problem within the U.S. population . . . In roughly 20 years, the prevalence of obesity increased by approximately 40% and severe obesity almost doubled.”

The study is reported in the Journal of Obesity (2022; doi:10.1155/2022/7652408).

See also: Is the “Freshman 15” Weight Gain a Given?

Shirley Archer, 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.

Related Articles

When you buy something using the retail links in our content, we may earn a small commission. IDEA Health and Fitness Association does not accept money for editorial reviews. Read more about our Terms & Conditions and our Privacy Policy.


November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

Concerned about your place in the new fitness industry? We have 40 years of experience supporting pros just like you! Let’s create a new wellness paradigm together—IDEAfit+ is the extra edge you need. Once you team up with IDEA, be sure to take full advantage of all the benefits of membership.