As being obese and overweight poses a growing threat in the Western world, more and more studies are shedding light on the mechanics of weight loss and effective ways to manage weight. On the other hand, an entire industry has sprouted and is still making billions as a result of people trying to reach their ideal body weight.
So far, the science behind weight loss facts has shown somewhat contradictory results even though it looks fairly simple at first: eat less, move more.
With that in mind, these 2021 weight loss statistics will go a bit more into details about the subject and give dieters a few tips on how to be successful on their journey — and after it.
Top Ten Weight Loss Facts and Stats You Need to Know in 2021:
- Today, there are more than 1.5 billion overweight people.
- Resistance exercise, together with aerobic exercise, might be the best way to lose weight quickly.
- According to studies, long-term weight loss success can only be achieved through sustainable lifestyle changes.
- Statistics on weight loss surgery show promising numbers for those who haven’t managed to lose weight otherwise.
- Around 90% of dieters struggle to maintain their weight once they’re done dieting.
- On average, 31% of the entire US population was obese in 2018.
- Almost half of all US adults (49.1%) tried to lose weight in 2013–2016.
- An estimated 15.3% of American teenagers aged from 10 to 17 were obese in 2017–2018.
- The total worth of the US weight loss market is at a whopping $72 billion.
- The global weight loss and weight management market hit a staggering value of $212.1 billion in 2018.
General Weight Loss Facts and Tips and Statistics
If you’re embarking on the weight-loss journey, don’t forget that it will not be an easy one. But that you are not alone in this. Millions of people struggle with obesity and weight loss every day. Here are some numbers to better understand this issue.
1. Today, there are more than 1.5 billion overweight people.
Also, this number grows with every passing day. By definition, an overweight person has a BMI, or body mass index, over 25kg/m2.
2. Being overweight is most prevalent in the Western World.
Assessing exercise and weight loss statistics starts with determining just how serious the problem of obesity is. For instance, in 2014, the proportion of adults in the European Union who fell in the overweight category was pretty varied.
For women, the lowest was 36.1%, in Italy, and the highest was 55.2%, in Malta. For men, it was between 53.6% percent (Netherlands), and 67.5% (Croatia).
3. 61.1% of Japanese women think that restricting food intake is the best diet approach.
The survey observed Japanese women’s diet and weight loss plans for 2019. The second most popular decision was exercising at home, with 33.8%, while the third was running (29%). Interestingly, only 11.4% of the respondents said that they plan to rely on weight loss supplements.
4. Resistance exercise, together with aerobic exercise, might be the best for quick weight loss.
A scientific review seems to back up this claim. According to it, 10 weeks of resistance training could increase the number of calories burned during rest by 7% and induce fat loss by around 4 pounds.
On the other hand, lifting weights may also help preserve the fat-free mass (like muscle mass), which can help you burn more calories even during rest.
5. Foods high in protein and fiber can all help in managing weight.
Studies have shown that increasing protein intake can help with feeling full and decreasing appetite while reducing calorie intake. A high protein diet can also help preserve muscle mass.
When looking at the best foods to lose weight, those high in fiber are also great options for successfully managing weight.
A study conducted among 1,114 adults found that a 10-gram daily increase in soluble fiber intake helped participants lose around 3.7% of their belly fat over 5 years without any controlled lifestyle or diet changes.
6. Stress management might be one of the best weight loss options.
(Medical News Today)
Stress is known to trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline, both of which initially decrease appetite.
However, with constant stress, the cortisol that remains in the bloodstream can actually boost appetite, as it signals the brain the need to replenish the nutritional storage with carbohydrates. Then, insulin transports the sugar from the carbs to the brain and muscles. Finally, if they are left unused, the body will store them as fat.
7. Long-term weight loss success can only be achieved through sustainable lifestyle changes.
A lot of sources mention that long term weight loss statistics and data on maintenance are quite grim. When “success” is defined as losing at least 10% of the starting body weight and keeping it off for at least a year, only around 20% of dieters can be deemed successful.
Experts agree that physicians should help overweight patients make sustainable lifestyle choices to help create even a small amount of sustained weight loss that can lead to significant health improvements.
8. Sleeping more may improve your chances of losing weight.
When looking at sleep and weight loss facts, there’s a growing body of research suggesting that getting enough sleep correlates with weight loss and management.
According to a study of 245 women who participated in a half-year-long weight loss program, those who had better sleep quality and got at least seven hours of sleep every night improved their likelihood of successful weight loss by a significant 33%.
9. Weight loss surgery statistics show promising numbers for those who haven’t managed to lose weight otherwise.
(University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Clinical data suggests that patients may lose around 30 to 50% of their initial excess body weight in just half a year following the surgery. Plus, they may even lose up to 77% of the excess weight during the same period.
Other studies show that patients managed to successfully maintain keeping off 50 to 60% of the lost weight even 10–14 years after surgery.
10. Around 90% of dieters struggle to maintain their weight once they’re done dieting.
(Michigan Health)(Science Daily)
Giving an accurate percent of people who struggle with losing weight is nearly impossible. According to some sources, 80-90% of dieters will eventually regain all the weight they’ve lost. Other, older data for the US suggests that, generally, only one in six Americans who got down to a healthy weight will manage to maintain it.
Weight Loss Statistics in America
Losing weight is not easy. The US is home to the largest number of overweight people, and this is something that needs to change fast, as it has a devastating effect on the nation’s health. Here are some numbers to show the seriousness of the situation.
11. In 2018, Mississippi was the most overweight state in the United States.
Namely, the rate of overweight adults was at a whopping 73.3%. This means that out of ten grown-ups, seven had weight problems. The next state in line that year was West Virginia, with quite similar results (72%). The third state was North Dakota, not far behind, with 71%.
12. On average, 31% of the entire US population was obese in 2018.
When looking at weight management, an alarming percentage of certain states face serious problems. For example, around 40% of West Virginia’s adult population was classified as obese the same year, while even the healthier states, like Hawaii, Colorado, and California, still had pretty high obesity rates (ranging between 22% and 25%).
13. Around 31% of obese US citizens wanted to lose weight in 2016 because they’ve developed diabetes or heart disease.
According to weight loss statistics from 2016, the main motivator for losing weight was improving overall health for nearly 77% percent of obese respondents. In 61% of cases, obese citizens also wanted to live a longer life.
14. Almost half of all US adults (49.1%) tried to lose weight in 2013–2016.
According to the same findings, more women attempted to lose weight than men (56.4% vs. 41.7%). Moreover, weight loss goals were more prevalent in adults who were at a higher weight and among those with a higher family income.
15. Over half of overweight US adults stated that eating more fruits and vegetables is a good weight loss method in 2013–2016.
US statistics on weight loss also show that the most popular weight-loss method was exercising and lowering food intake (both were chosen in 62.9% of instances). Healthy diet choices, like eating more salads, vegetables, and fruits, were the second most reported option, in 50.4% of cases.
16. In 2013–2016, around 66.7% of obese adults tried to lose weight in the US.
Among overweight adults, this percentage was 49.0%, and it was 26.5% among people who were of normal weight or even underweight.
It’s also important to note that weight loss statistics showed a higher percentage of women trying to get rid of excess body weight than men, in every category.
17. An estimated 15.3% of American teenagers aged from 10 to 17 were obese in 2017–2018.
(State of Childhood Obesity)
This was a slight improvement from 2016 when the rate for the same group was 16.1%. Nonetheless, experts state that this difference is of no statistical significance when looking at the big picture.
18. Obesity rates in American teenagers were more prevalent among African American and Hispanic communities.
(State of Childhood Obesity)
From a demographic standpoint, obesity rates for the two groups were at 22.2% and 19.0%. They were also significantly higher than in Asian and Caucasian teenagers (7.3% and 11.8%).
With such concerning rates, children should be informed about weight loss benefits to increase their likelihood of growing up to live a healthy life without any serious health complications that come with obesity, such as diabetes.
19. “Fletcherizing” was a popular diet of late 19th century America.
(My Net Diary)
Among the most notable weight loss fun facts is one connected to the American health-food faddist, Horace Fletcher. He is also known as “The Great Masticator,” who came up with the diet method of chewing each bite of food 32 times.
He believed that his method could not only help with weight loss but actually help fight and even cure diseases like eczema, boils, and gout. By the time of his death, his theory started to lose ground to another method of losing weight — calorie counting.
20. According to two different studies, chewing your food around 32 times can help with weight loss.
(My Net Diary)
Weight loss facts seem to back up Fletcher’s claims that chewing each bite 32 times before swallowing it can help losing weight. In one study, 30 young men chewed every bite of their breakfast 40 times instead of 10 times, to see how much they’d eat. According to the results, the participants consumed around 12% fewer calories when chewing their food 40 times.
Another study led by Dr. Hendrik Smit compared chewing food 35 times instead of 10 times and recorded the effects. According to his findings, chewing each bite 35 times allowed the participants to consume less food despite chewing faster and making the meal last longer.
Weight Loss Industry Stats & Supplements
How do supplements fit into this story? A popular misconception is that supplements are used to gain weight. However, if you read to these and use them wisely, they can bee a good ally on your journey.
21. The total worth of the US weight loss market is at a whopping $72 billion.
(Research and Markets)
According to the latest data from 2019, the market remained strong, even though the overall number of dieters has dropped due to body acceptance and body positivity trends.
22. The global weight loss and management market hit a staggering value of $212.1 billion in 2018.
(Global News Wire)
Weight loss industry statistics and estimates on a global scale forecast that the market will reach a total value of $348.1 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% in the 2019–2025 period.
23. Among the industry’s top-selling products, low-calorie sweeteners will have the highest CAGR (10.2%) in the 2021–2027 period.
(Allied Market Research)
In 2019, the largest market share was held by the so-called “better-for-you” type products. At the moment, North America and Europe are the largest marketplaces for such products. However, developing countries are also seeing a rapidly increasing demand for such goods, as obesity rates and related health problems are on the rise.
24. CBD may help reduce food intake and speed up metabolism.
Even though the connection between CBD oil and weight loss isn’t quite clear yet, there’s some evidence to suggest that CBD might help users eat less and speed up their metabolism, both of which can help in losing weight.
So far, animal studies show that CBD interacts with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are believed to play an important role in food intake and metabolism. Laboratory rats, when injected with the compound, have shown significant weight reductions.
What percentage of dieters regain weight?
According to different estimates in medical literature, around 80% of people who manage to lose at least 10% of their body weight will eventually regain it to the point that they become the same or even heavier than they were before.
Experts have been studying the mechanics behind this phenomenon, and the leading theory is that the resting metabolism (or the basal metabolic rate) slows down in people who lose weight, making it easier to regain it.
Plus, food intake after weight loss might also increase, derailing the positive trajectory of diet success statistics. According to experts, if a person who would normally eat around 2,700 calories each day lost around 9 pounds, their body would induce their appetite, prompting them to eat about 400 calories more than they needed before (3,100).
What is a healthy rate to lose weight?
Professionals estimate that the optimal and healthy rate of losing weight is no more than 1–2 pounds per week. Losing more than this is considered too fast, and it can lead to complications further down the road.
Initially, dieters may lose more than a couple of pounds in the first one or two weeks of their diet, since the body burns the glycogen in the muscles as fuel, which also releases a substantial amount of water from the body. Hence being referred to as “water weight.”
What percentage of dieters maintain long term weight loss?
The numbers are a bit conflicting with some studies stating 80% and other experts claiming that around 90% of dieters who lose weight will end up regaining virtually all of it. Either way, this means that only a handful, around 10%, will manage to stay at a healthy weight in the long term.
Apart from the reasons listed above, gaining weight changes the body’s biology, making it adapt to the extra pounds we carry and defining it as “normal.”
As a result, when we try to lose weight, the body sends hormonal signals to the brain, telling it that we are hungry. Simply put, our body is fighting against us.
Is it possible to lose weight permanently?
Looking at the data gathered and studies published, it’s becoming quite clear that permanent weight loss is near impossible.
Professionals, such as Traci Nann, a psychologist who spent over two decades at the University of Minnesota running an eating lab, say that long-term success in weight loss happens only to a small minority of dieters.
Even though some studies show that only about 10 to 20% of dieters succeed in keeping the weight off in the long-term, other experts claim that the number is actually closer to 5%, thus “keeping the myth alive.”
Moreover, evidence suggests that dropping weight in the short-term is fairly easy. However, usually after a year, the weight comes back, and it keeps coming back until the body hits the original weight or gains even more.
How much weight can you lose in a week?
As more or less a general consensus among experts, losing around 1 to 2 pounds a week is considered safe and healthy. This can be achieved — in accordance with NHS guides — by subtracting around 600 calories from the recommended daily intake. For women, this would mean a total intake of 1,400kcal and for men, 1,900kcal per day.
Adversely, the more excess weight one has to lose, the more they will manage to shed off. As a general rule of thumb, aiming for one percent of body weight a week is realistic. In the case of a 300lbs individual, this would mean 3 pounds in 7 days.
How much money is spent on weight loss products each year?
According to the “The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market” report from 2019, the US market alone is worth a staggering $72 billion, even though the number of dieters has fallen in recent years due to the body positivity movement.
On the other hand, earlier data shows that around 45 million Americans start dieting annually and spend an estimated $33 million every year on different products to aid their weight loss journey.
(AP News)(Boston Medical)
As you can see, facts about weight loss show quite shocking numbers and, in most cases, paint a pretty concerning picture for the obese. On the bright side, researchers seem to conclude that long-term and permanent weight loss is possible — but only with hard and consistent work.
On the other hand, the weight loss industry is constantly pumping out new fitness programs, weight loss supplements, and other aids, signaling that getting rid of excess fat is a walk in the park — which could not be further from the truth.
Hopefully, these weight loss statistics and facts give you a more detailed picture of the situation, in terms of weight loss outlook, chances of permanent success, and health benefits. All in all, statistics like these makes us see just how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle from a young age to ensure that we can enjoy life to the fullest.
- Allied Market Research
- AP News
- Boston Medical
- Global News Wire
- Medical News Today
- Michigan Health
- My Net Diary
- Oxford Academic
- Research and Markets
- Science Daily
- State of Childhood Obesity
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics