Obesity is a major health issue in the United States. In fact, 2 out of 3 Americans are overweight or obese. But a U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey reveals good news: many people are taking the threat seriously. It shows that 49% of Americans are actively trying to lose weight.
The data comes from the responses of about 5,000 people in the U.S. collected from 2013 to 2016 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
One of the not-so-shocking takeaways from the survey was that women are more concerned about their weight than men. About 56% of female respondents said they were trying to slim down, compared to 41% of males.
Isabel Maples, a registered dietician and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, wasn’t surprised by the finding, either.
“When you hear about people wanting to lose weight, you hear about it with women more often. Women don’t need as many calories, typically, as men and we tend to gain weight easier. There’s also a lot of societal pressure for women to look good, be at a normal weight, versus men.”
The heaviest people surveyed were the ones who said they were going to work the hardest: 66% of obese adults and 49% of overweight adults said they were working to become more svelte.
Age-wise, older adults were more likely than younger adults to try and lose weight – about 43% of adults 60 and older, compared to about 52% of adults ages 40 to 59 and roughly half of people ages 20 to 39. 
Also, significant differences popped up in the survey when it came to socioeconomic status. More people from higher-income families reported trying to lose weight versus people from lower-income families.
Furthermore, about half of white, black, and Hispanic respondents said they were trying to lose weight, while just 41% of Asians said they were working to shed pounds.
A Mix of Weight Loss Methods
Let’s take a look at the myriad of ways respondents said they were trying to slim down. 
- Exercise – 62%
- Eating less – 62%
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, or salads – 50%
- Drinking lots of water – 44%
- Cutting down on fast food or junk food – 42%
- Changing eating habits – 38%
- Consuming less sugar, candy, or sweets – 38%
- Switching to lower-calorie foods – 35%
- Eating fewer carbohydrates – 30%
- Eating less fat – 29%
- Skipping meals – 16%
Most respondents tried 2 or more of these methods.
Guys, unless you’re actively practicing discipline, don’t skip meals – you’ll be starving and you’ll wind up overeating later on.
If you’re serious about losing weight, avoid soda and sugary beverages, start becoming more physically active, and focus on food quality – whole, organic foods are best – and don’t focus solely on cutting calories. Ditch the junk food and fast food, and don’t skimp on drinking water.
Though there are countless cases showing that restricting calories and putting your body in a calorie deficit will yield results, it’s probably best to start a little simpler by dropping 1 unhealthy item at a time, slowly transforming your diet and lifestyle for the better.
And pay attention to what you’re eating. Turn off the television or take a break from work if you tend to eat meals at your computer. Take the time to enjoy your food instead of mindlessly reaching for those M&Ms.