In recent years, fewer overweight Americans have been trying to lose weight. Researchers speculate that one of the reasons is fat acceptance.
A new study found that this trend occurred at the same time obesity rates climbed.
Public health researcher at Georgia Southern University and lead author of the study, Dr. Jian Zhang, said that socially accepted normal 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,” Zhang added.
Zhang also said that repeated failed attempts is another reason pushing people to abandoning efforts to lose the extra weight.
U.S. government health surveys over nearly two decades from 1988 through 2014 was analyzed for the research.
In-person physical exams and health-related questions were conducted in the surveys.
The questions asked included asking participants if they’d tried to lose weight within the past year, however, they were not asked to explain their answers. M More than 27,000 adults aged 20 to 59 were included in the survey.
In the early surveys, around half the participants were overweight or obese, the number increased to 65% by 2014. However, the percentage of overweight or obese adults saying they were trying lose weight decreased from 55% to 49%
BMI, or Body mass index, is a measure of height and weight that determines weight status. People with a BMI of 25 to 29 are considered overweight, while 30 and above is obese. A BMI of 30 usually reflects being about 50 pounds above the ideal weight.
Director of a weight-loss clinic in Washington, Dr. Scott Kahan, said that the study is important and is in line with previous research. He stated that in some circles, it has become more acceptable to be overweight, but many patients still feel stigmatized. Many go to his center after frequent attempts to lose weight, some give up for a while out of frustration.
Obesity was most common among black women, according to the study, 55% were obese in the most recent survey years, and there was a big drop in black women’s numbers trying to lose weight. But it’s not known whether that’s due to fat acceptance, dieting frustration or other reasons
There’s a positive side to fat acceptance, according to Zhang, that people feel less ridiculed for their weight. However, obesity can increase risks for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other ailments. He added that the findings are a very serious concern. He continued on saying that we should forget the words ‘fat’ or ‘obesity’ and that a healthy lifestyle is the most effective way to help people lose weight.