Change in Percentages of Adults With Overweight or Obesity Trying to Lose Weight, 1988-2014

Socially acceptable body weight is increasing.1 If more individuals who are overweight or obese are satisfied with their weight, fewer might be motivated to lose unhealthy weight. This study assessed the trend in the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese and trying to lose weight during 3 periods from 1988 through 2014.
We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an ongoing, stratified, multistage probability sample of the US noninstitutionalized population designed to represent the health and nutritional status of the general population. A strength of NHANES is that the sampling approaches, interviews, and physical examination methods are standardized across surveys and have been published extensively elsewhere.2 NHANES protocol was approved by the National Center for Health Statistics institutional review board, and written informed consent was obtained.2 The current analysis was categorized as exempt by the Georgia Southern University institutional review board.
Periods examined in the current report were 1988-1994, 1999-2004, and 2009-2014. Response rates were approximately 80% with consistent nonresponse patterns across the 3 periods.3 Participants aged 20 to 59 years who were overweight (a body mass index [BMI; calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared] of ≥25-<30) or obese (BMI ≥30) were included. Because overweight and obesity vary by race/ethnicity,4 results are presented by race/ethnicity. The question of interest was “During the past 12 months, have you tried to lose weight?” Because the percentage of adults trying to lose weight was substantially higher than 10, modified Poisson regression5was used to estimate percentage ratios and compare the percentage of adults who were overweight or obese and trying to lose weight over the 3 periods. With family income, age, and body weight as covariates, regressions were run for each sex and race/ethnicity. With appropriate weighting and nesting variables, analyses were conducted using SAS (SAS Institute), version 9.4. Two-sided P values <.05 were considered significant. Results Of 27 350 participants analyzed, most were white (75% in 1988-1994, 69% in 1999-2004, and 64% in 2009-2014). Overweight and obesity prevalence increased throughout the study period, from 52.72% (95% CI, 50.76%-54.68%) in 1988-1994 to 65.58% (95% CI, 63.53%-67.63%) in 2009-2014 (Table). Read More:
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