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).