Body Weight: Are you overweight now? Let’s compare …

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Body Weight
An aerobics group for military families at Fort Bragg. U.S. Army photo in public domain, by Crystal Abbott.

An aerobics group for military families at Fort Bragg. U.S. Army photo in public domain, by Crystal Abbott.

FEASTS & FASTS are traditions for millions of men and women in December. Most Americans feast their way through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year celebrations—and leave the resulting body weight for January dieting. But, Eastern Orthodox Christians traditionally fast, each year, in the weeks leading up to their Christmas feast. It’s safe to say: As the Northern Hemisphere darkens at the end of each year, all of us spend a lot more time thinking about our food—and our weight.

I’ll start, this week, by admitting that this is a challenge for me, too. I’m sure it’s a sensitive topic for many of our readers. So, you’re not alone in taking a deep breath and comparing yourself with Americans nationwide, thanks to a new Gallup report.

Here’s the first question this week: Where do you feel your body weight is right now? Are at your ideal weight? Or, do you feel you are above (or below) an ideal weight for you? Today, we have a fresh opportunity to compare those assumptions with other Americans.

A recent poll by Gallup shows: The majority of us are concerned about our weight right now. Only 18% of Americans report that their current weight is their ideal weight. Men are a little more likely to say that they are at their ideal weight (20%), compared to women (17%). The majority of men (58%) and women (59%) say they are above their ideal weight. Only 17% of men say they are under their ideal weight, compared to 12% of women.

Do you want to lose weight? The majority of Americans (51%) want to shed pounds, according to Gallup. But only 25% say they are “seriously trying to lose weight.” This wide gap between the desire to lose weight and doing something about it has persisted for over a decade. In 2003, for example, 58% of Americans said they wanted to lose weight, but only 24% were actively trying to do something about it.

This persistent gap between words and deeds is more of a problem now than it was in the past. Americans today are an average of 15 pounds heavier than they were in 1990, but the percentage of Americans who want to lose weight has not changed since then. In other words, Americans are gaining weight but only one in four is actively doing something about it.

Indeed, the obesity rate in 2013 may end up being the highest ever, says Gallup. The American Medical Association now classifies obesity as a disease, recognizing the national trend toward obesity and its deleterious health consequences.

Are you at your ideal body weight?

If not, are you actively trying to lose (or gain) weight?

Are you concerned about the national trend toward obesity?

Tomorrow: Do you know which occupations are the healthiest—and unhealthiest—from a weight perspective? Comment today and join us tomorrow to find out!

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