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1999 to 2016 Saw Increase in U.S. Adults Trying to Lose Weight

Parallel trends seen for increasing current measured body mass index and weight among adults

THURSDAY, Nov. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 1999 to 2016, there were trends for increases in measured body mass index (BMI) and weight among adults in the United States, and there was an increase in the proportion of adults attempting to lose weight, according to a study published online Nov. 13 in JAMA Network Open.

Liyuan Han, Ph.D., from Ningbo University in China, and colleagues conducted a national cross-sectional study to examine trends in current measured BMI and weight among adults in the United States. Data were included from 48,026 participants in nine surveys from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016.

The researchers observed increasing trends in current measured BMI (difference, 1.20; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.92 to 1.47; P for trend < 0.001); current measured weight (difference, 2.77 kg; 95 percent CI, 1.92 to 3.61 kg; P for trend < 0.001); adjusted, self-reported, prior-year weight (difference, 2.36 kg; 95 percent CI, 1.52 to 3.21 kg; P for trend < 0.001); and the difference between measured and adjusted self-reported weight (difference, 0.70 kg; 95 percent CI, 0.34 to 1.07 kg; P for trend < 0.001). The proportion of overall participants who attempted to lose weight increased from 34.3 to 42.2 percent (difference, 8.0 percent; 95 percent CI, 4.1 to 10.5 percent; P for trend < 0.001) during this period. Reduced food consumption, exercise, and frequent water intake were the most commonly reported weight loss strategies with the most rapidly increasing prevalence during the study period. Between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016, increases were also seen for reported consumption of more fruits, vegetables, and salads; changing eating habits; and consumption of less sugar, candy, and sweets.

“These increases [in measured BMI and weight] were observed despite increases in the proportion of participants who attempted to lose weight and used weight loss strategies,” the authors write.

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