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Average American BMI is Still Rising Even with More People on Diets than Ever

Average American BMI Rising

The average American BMI (body mass index) is continuing to climb, even though more people say they’re trying to shed the excess weight.  Across the United States, people are taking on various types of eating strategy, exercise plan and other methods of tackling the pounds.  Still, on the whole, the country’s average size is climbing.

This indicates that the average American BMI is climbing not because people aren’t trying but because their efforts are not successful.  Yes, they are attempting to lose weight, but not enough are doing so over the long term to offset the rate at which obesity is climbing.  This, according to the results of a new study published in the JAMA journal.

The Average American BMI is Going Up

Tulane University Obesity Research Center director, Dr. Lu Qi in New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the study’s corresponding authors. The research looked into trends when it comes to an individual’s own perception of his or her weight status, attempts to lose weight, and the strategies used to reach that goal.  It was an examination of healthy adults in the United States and involved data from 1999 through 2006.

The researchers then broadened the analysis to include data from nine National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (N.H.A.N.E.S.) spanning from 1999 through 2016. Overall, the researchers had access to the data from 48,026 participants over those years.  It gave the researchers a unique opportunity to examine BMI and weight trends including self-reported weight changes over prior years, and the difference between what a person has self-reported and what they currently weigh.

Weight Trends in Conflict

The research illustrated a fascinating conflict in trends leading to the current average American BMI.  It  showed that a sizeable number of participants who have tried to lose weight have actually ended the study period with a higher body mass index.  Both their current weight and their body weights over previous years have risen regardless of the efforts they’ve made for the opposite outcome.

From 1999 to 2016, the number of adults who said they were trying to lose weight increased from 34 percent to 42 percent, which is a meaningful rise.  Throughout that period, the weight management strategies most commonly used involved reducing food consumption, increasing physical activity levels and improving hydration habits.

Other habits many people changed included reducing intake of sweets, candy and sugar as a whole as well as decreasing fast food or junk food intake. Still, the average American BMI climbed. Trends throughout that period showed that the average body mass index rose. From 2007 to 2015, the percentage of adults with obesity in the U.S. climbed from 33.7 percent to 39.6 percent.