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Americans weigh more but they don't care anymore

Staff Writer |
Americans have become slightly heavier in recent years, but they also seem to have grown more comfortable with it.

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Between 2003-2007 and 2013-2017, Americans' self-reported weight edged up along with the number of pounds they offer as their "ideal" weight, yet the percentage who consider themselves overweight has declined.

Much of the change since 2003 occurred in the middle of that period, from 2008-2012. However, Americans' actual weight and ideal weight have crept up slightly since then.

While Americans are heavier, they are less likely to see themselves as overweight compared with 2003-2007, which aligns with the finding that they are also less likely to want to lose weight or to be seriously trying to cut pounds.

Among Americans, women are more likely than men to describe themselves as overweight. Additionally, the difference between their self-reported weight and their "ideal weight" is larger than it is for men.

In the past five years, there has been an average 18-pound difference between women's 158-pound actual weight and their 140-pound ideal weight. The gap for men is 12 pounds: 195-pound actual weight vs. 183-pound ideal weight.

The percentage of Americans saying they are overweight dropped from 41% in 2003-2007 to 38% for 2013-2017. In the most recent period, 35% of men and 40% of women say they are overweight.

A majority of men (59%) and women (53%) now see their weight as "about right," while 6% of both sexes think they are underweight.

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