FRIDAY, Oct. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The latest national tally on dieting finds that nearly half of U.S. adults are doing what they can to trim a widening waistline.
Overall, 49.3 percent of people aged 20 and older said they’d tried to lose weight over the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings were based on a 2015-2016 national health survey, the latest data available.
The new stats reflect a significant increase from prior surveys. For example, 43 percent of American adults were trying to slim down in 2007-2008, but the numbers have crept steadily upwards every year since, the CDC said.
Attempts at weight loss were higher for women than men in the latest survey (56.3 percent and 42.2 percent, respectively), but over time rates of increase have been steady for both genders.
Why are more Americans than ever concerned about overweight and obesity? Registered dietitian Stephanie Schiff cites multiple reasons.
First off, “we are more sedentary than ever before,” said Schiff, who guides the nutrition program at Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital, in Huntington, N.Y. “Our entertainment is more likely to occur while we are sitting — in front of the TV, in front of a computer, in bed with our phones in our hands.”
Next, “we’re not cooking our own food as much, we’re eating out more,” she said. “And when we don’t have a hand in our own meals, we don’t have control over what goes into it — others do. And they add more fat, more sugar, more salt.”
Increasing stress levels can also “play havoc with our metabolisms,” Schiff said, and that can prompt people to overeat. Sleeplessness is another known risk factor for poor eating, she added.
So what works to get slim and keep the weight from coming back? Sharon Zarabi is a registered dietitian who leads the bariatric program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
She believes the key is to incorporate healthy living habits that last a lifetime — not just a fast fix.