Weight loss stats reveal that losing 5–10% of weight can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer. At the same time, it may improve mental health.
Of course, experienced dieters know that losing weight is not easy. However, learning the proper methods and making some crucial lifestyle changes might help you achieve long-term results.
We put together the most critical data to help you better understand the global need for weight loss and the latest dieting trends, most successful methods, and more.
Crucial Weight Loss Statistics for 2021
- 77% of Americans are striving to eat healthier.
- 45 million US adults start dieting each year.
- 20% of dieters manage to maintain long-term weight loss.
- Dieters usually regain 50% of the lost weight within two years.
- Losing 1–2 pounds a week is considered to be a good weight loss rate.
- During the pandemic, 18% of Americans have lost weight.
- At some point in their life, 9 in 1,000 women might develop anorexia.
- By 2026, the weight loss products market will jump to $377.3 billion.
Surprising Weight Loss Facts: High Obesity Rates Call For an Immediate Reaction
1. In the US, 42.2% of non-Hispanic White adults are obese.
The expansion of fast-food restaurants and the fast-paced life are two significant factors contributing to the US’s rapid rise in obesity rates. On the other hand, Hispanic White adults have the obesity rate of 44.8%. Obesity is related to numerous health risks, including stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
2. With 39.5%, obesity is most prevalent in Mississippi and West Virginia.
To fully understand weight loss statistics, it’s important to get a better idea of obesity rates. A recent survey reveals that adult obesity rates exceed 35% in nine US states, while they are most prevalent in Mississippi and West Virginia. On the other hand, Colorado has the lowest rate of 23%.
3. Black adults have the highest obesity rate of 49.6%.
Among them, Black women account for 56.9%. On the contrary, the obesity rate is the lowest among Asian adults — 17.4%.
4. 28.9% of elderly adults in the US are obese.
The weight loss stats aren’t aimed at informing young people only. In fact, many older people could use the knowledge about successfully shedding weight, especially since nearly a third of them struggle with obesity. This is an increase of about 4% compared to 2013.
One of the risk factors contributing to obesity is the increased chance of injuring during a fall and becoming bed-bound for some time. Statistics show that 27% of elderly Americans fell in 2020 only.
The Latest Weight Loss Trends
5. 77% of Americans are trying to eat healthier.
People are increasingly shifting their focus to adopting healthier eating habits instead of engaging in deprivation dieting. On the other hand, 19% of Americans are dieting.
6. 40 million Americans would give up social media to lose at least 10 pounds.
A survey conducted at the end of 2020 revealed that 53% of Americans are worried about gaining weight. Moreover, some weight loss fun facts show that 22% of them would give up sex, and 17% would drop their favorite streaming service.
7. More than 45 million Americans go on a diet each year.
(BMC, Reid Health)
However, stats on dieting reveal that more than half of Americans are on fad diets. These diets might be quick fixes, but they don’t work long-term. Fad diets deliver immediate results but involve unbalanced eating plans that are unhealthy.
In addition, these diets can cause multiple adverse effects like fatigue, dehydration, constipation, and lack of vitamins and minerals needed for proper body functioning.
8. 77% of obese people are motivated to lose weight to improve their overall health.
Facts about weight loss indicate that the top motivation for losing weight is improving overall health. Additionally, many dieters are motivated by the desire to improve appearance (66%). Increased physical activity (62%) and living longer (61%) are also cited as top reasons for weight loss.
9. 58% of Americans feel they need more significant support throughout their weight loss journey.
Statistics on weight loss based on the report conducted by Gelesis show that Americans are motivated to develop healthier habits even during the pandemic. However, many of those who want to hit a weight loss goal still struggle.
About three in five Americans would love to have greater support throughout the weight loss journey. Furthermore, 42% report they don’t feel they get enough help with their weight loss goals from their health care providers.
Long-Term Weight Loss Statistics
10. 20% of overweight people succeed in long-term weight loss.
Maintaining long-term weight loss is defined as losing at least 10% of initial body weight and keeping it for at least a year. This is possible if people engage in high physical activity levels, follow a low-fat, low-calorie diet, and develop a consistent eating pattern.
11. Individuals who maintain their weight loss for two to five years have a greater chance of long-term success.
Weight loss maintenance statistics show that maintaining the weight loss long term becomes easier with time. A PubMed survey reveals that individuals who maintain their weight loss for about two to five years and continually adhere to diet and exercise plans have a significantly greater chance of long-term success.
12. 90% of people who succeed at maintaining long-term weight loss exercise for one hour a day.
According to long-term weight loss statistics from an NWCR research study conducted among people who have lost 30 pounds and managed to maintain it for a year, exercising for an hour a day is the most effective strategy for weight loss control.
Other tactics for keeping the weight off include eating breakfast every day (78%), weighing at least once a week (75%), and watching TV for fewer than 10 hours a week (62%).
13. People tend to regain more than 50% of the weight loss within two years.
Furthermore, people are likely to regain 80% of their weight after five years. Weight loss regain statistics show this might be one of the reasons many obese people who are trying to shed weight end up believing it’s a hopeless journey.
14. Almost 65% of people on crash diets return to their pre-diet weights within three years.
Losing weight quickly doesn’t guarantee long-term results. For example, only 5% of dieters on crash diets manage to maintain weight loss. A crash diet is any unhealthy diet that goes from severe calorie-restriction diets to diets that include only a few types of food.
15. About 1–2 pounds per week is considered a healthy weight loss rate.
Studies have confirmed that losing weight gradually and steadily increases the chances of successfully keeping the weight off. This is because it’s less of going on a diet and more of enhancing the lifestyle by introducing long-term eating changes and adopting exercising habits.
COVID-19 & Weight Loss Rates
16. 18% of Americans have lost weight during the pandemic.
(Gelesis, The Conversation)
Approximately 63% of Americans found it harder to keep their lifestyle habits during the pandemic. Due to increased emotional stress, 18% of Americans have experienced weight loss of 26 pounds on average.
Nevertheless, 42% of American adults gained weight during the pandemic. On average, these people gained 29 pounds. However, diet failure statistics imply that about 10% gained more than 50 pounds.
17. Three in five Americans said they tried to lose weight during the pandemic.
A potential silver lining from the global pandemic is that more than three in five people felt the need to improve their lifestyle habits and lose weight.
As a result, about 64% developed healthier eating habits, and 63% adopted healthy lifestyle habits. For example, 51% started cooking at home more often, and 50% started drinking more water.
18. 42% practiced yoga during the pandemic.
Some fun facts about weight loss are that, during the pandemic, many people increased their physical activity. Besides doing yoga, hiking (34%) and indoor cycling (19%) were common exercising options. Moreover, 18% of people engaged in running.
19. With 40.54%, the UK is the first-ranked country per percentage of people who lost weight during the pandemic.
Even though the pandemic generally brought about stress eating and munching, some people used the lockdown to shed unwanted weight. Weight loss numbers indicate that 32.17% of respondents globally managed to lose weight.
If looked by country, the UK saw the biggest number of adults who managed to lose weight, followed by Canada with 36.01% and Australia with 31.05%. However, only 27.71% of Americans succeeded in their weight loss efforts.
20. With 35.67%, North Carolina saw the highest weight loss percentage during the pandemic.
Michigan is the next state with the highest weight loss rate — 35.19%, followed by Maryland with 34.72%, and Illinois with 34.40%. Washington and Arizona have the lowest weight loss percentages — 28.62% and 28%, respectively.
Top Tips and Diets for High Weight Loss Success Rates
21. Women need 1,500 calories a day and men 2,000 calories a day to lose one pound a week.
The secret to healthy weight loss is to take in fewer calories than the body burns. Generally, it means consuming 500 calories fewer than the body needs to maintain the current weight. Of course, this can vary significantly, so consulting with a doctor is always a wise choice.
22. Intermittent fasting can bring about losing 7–11 pounds over 10 weeks.
Intermittent fasting is one of the new weight loss trends. It involves not eating for the majority of the day. The most popular method is 16/8, which means eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours.
23. Gastric bypass surgery patients might lose up to 50% of their weight in the first six months.
Gastric bypass surgery is the most popular and efficient weight loss surgery. As weight loss surgery statistics reveal, apart from losing at least 30% of the excess weight in six months, patients would likely lose 77% of the weight within a year from the surgery. Finally, studies show that patients can maintain 50–60% weight loss for about 10–14 years after the surgery.
24. Taking Zoloft might help patients lose between 0.42 and 1.06 pounds a week.
Even though antidepressants are generally associated with weight gain, anecdotal evidence suggests the Zoloft, the prescription SSRI medication, might have the opposite effect.
Zoloft weight loss statistics based on a study among overweight patients taking the medication for depression show they lost weight. Furthermore, one participant lost 69 pounds within 36 weeks.
25. Individuals following the Atkins diet can lose 15 pounds within two weeks.
The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate diet that highlights the importance of limiting carbs and increasing the amount of protein and fats. This diet aims to impose healthier eating habits while allowing you to shed weight and maintain it.
Weight loss success statistics indicate that it’s possible to lose significant weight within the first phase of a diet. After that, the results can vary greatly, and significant weight loss might come during the second or third phase.
26. The Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by 25%.
The Mediterranean diet involves fresh fruit and vegetables, fatty fish, whole grains, olive oil, and legumes. It also allows for some wine and dairy, and the key is in the balanced way of eating. A study had been conducted among 25,000 women who were then followed up for 12 years. Experts discovered a link between the participants following the Mediterranean and a reduced heart disease risk.
27. The ketosis weight loss rate is 1–10 pounds within the first week.
The Keto diet limits the carb intake to about 50 grams per day of total carbs and 25 grams of net carbs. When limiting carbs, the body enters ketosis, a metabolic state in which it uses ketones broken down from stored body fat and acts as a primary fuel source. As a result, people can shed about 1–10 pounds within the first week.
28. To avoid getting overweight, total fat shouldn’t exceed 30% of the total energy intake.
Nutrition facts for weight loss indicate that you should limit the total fat intake (both saturated and unsaturated) to 30% of the total energy intake. Additionally, you should eat 400g or more vegetables and fruits.
At the same time, you should avoid starchy foods like potatoes. Finally, you should limit the salt intake to under 5g a day, which equals one teaspoon.
Potential Health Issues Related to an Unhealthy Weight Loss Rate
29. Extreme calorie deprivations of less than 1,200 calories a day can cause unhealthy weight loss.
The primary reason for unhealthy weight loss is severe calorie deprivation. This usually causes the body to enter starvation mode. The body then responds by slowing down metabolism and hanging onto more fats. As a result, a person might end up gaining weight.
30. 40% of people who reported unexplained weight loss were diagnosed with cancer.
(Healthline, Mayo Clinic, Cancer Research UK)
Experiencing a drastic, unwanted weight loss can be a sign of underlying health issues. In fact, the cancer weight loss rate is higher for some types of cancer. For example, 60% of individuals with lung cancer have experienced significant weight loss, and the same goes for 80% of people with gastrointestinal cancer.
31. 9 in 1,000 women develop anorexia.
People with anorexia usually don’t want to feel full after eating, severely restricting their eating and drinking. As a result, anorexic people are underweight, and the weight can become so low that it might cause numerous health problems. Anorexia weight loss rate is 10 times higher in females than males and usually starts during the teenage years.
32. Individuals with anorexia weigh 15% below the expected weight loss.
Generally, the average adult BMI is 18.5–25, and individuals with anorexia have a BMI of 17.5 or below. Moreover, for people younger than 18, normal weight is calculated by using particular age-related BMI charts.
Weight Loss Industry Statistics
33. The US weight loss market suffered a 21% decline due to the pandemic.
The American Weight Loss and Diet Control market saw a record $78 billion in 2019. However, it was harshly hit by COVID-19 and the recession. Health clubs and medical weight loss programs were affected the most, seeing 37% and 27% reductions, respectively.
34. Globally, the weight loss products market will grow to $377.3 billion by 2026.
According to weight loss industry stats, the weight loss products market will increase at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2021 to 2026. The exponential market growth is mainly driven by the increased health concerns and an aging population. Additionally, the growing income per capita in developed countries is also contributing towards the market growth.
35. The weight loss and weight management diet market will see a 7% CAGR by 2027.
(Allied Market Research)
The weight loss and weight management market size is projected to hit $295.3 billion by 2027. In fact, it was $192.2 billion in 2019 and has gradually increased since then.
36. Sales of meal replacements will grow by 6.8% per year.
Meal replacements like nutrition bars and shakes are very popular with dieters. Sold by MLM distributors, retailers, and diet companies, meal replacement products are more available than ever, which brings about an increased number of sales. Weight loss facts indicate that sales of these products will outpace the sales of OTC diet pills by 2023 (5.5% per year)
37. Weight Watchers is the most successful commercial weight-loss company, with a $332 million revenue reported in Q1 2021.
Weight Watchers is a weight loss company that offers online and in-person coaching, online tools, exercise tips, and meal plan recommendations. As of Q1 2021, WW reported five million subscribers, and member retention remained at an all-time high for more than 10 months.
Weight Loss Stats: The Takeaway
Over the past years, the obesity rates have increased globally. If you want to avoid the obesity epidemic, it’s essential to educate yourself on the benefits of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
The weight loss process is quite complex and challenging, and many people dive into dieting without any fact-based knowledge about it.
The stats we shared above highlight the importance of adopting a healthy and balanced diet, engaging in physical activity, and making wiser lifestyle choices.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Calculating weight loss is beneficial as it helps you determine the progress and whether your dieting efforts are on point. Furthermore, experts say the numbers can motivate you to work harder toward reaching your goals.
You can easily calculate the percentage of lost weight — first, divide the amount of weight you’ve lost by the weight you had when you started dieting; then, multiply the number you get by 100, and you have your percentage.
Adopting a healthier diet is the top way to lose weight. Studies have confirmed that it’s essential to stay away from foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates and replace them with healthier options like whole-grain bread and pasta, fruit, nuts, and seeds.
Additionally, it’s essential to eat fiber-rich foods like whole-grain cereals, oats, vegetables, peas, and beans to increase the feeling of fullness and encourage weight loss.
A national study by NCBI revealed that a significant proportion of obese US adults who tried to lose weight succeeded in their intention. More than 40% reported 5% or more weight loss, and 20% said they had lost at least 10%.
In addition, obese adults who reported weight loss ate less fat, exercised more, and used weight loss medications. Some of them also joined a weight loss program.
The most significant factor in losing weight is limiting the consumption of calories. You should eat fewer calories than the body burns. The general rule of thumb for calorie intake is 1,500 for women and 2,000 for men.
The best way to succeed is to adopt new lifestyle habits and start eating a healthier diet. Additionally, you can increase your calorie expenditure by exercising.
Losing weight becomes more challenging from the age of 30 as the muscle mass and strength begin to decline. This means the body will burn fewer calories, which can lead to gaining unwanted weight.
Moreover, when you’re past your 40s and head to middle age, there will be even greater changes in metabolism, muscle, and hormones, making it harder to shed weight.
Maintaining long-term weight loss is defined as losing 10% or more of the initial body weight and maintaining it for at least one year. Research shows that only 20% of people who have shed weight succeed in maintaining long-term weight loss.
Most dieters fail in this attempt. On average, they regain more than 50% of what they lost within two years, weight loss stats reveal.
- Allied Market Research
- BMT Derm&Family
- Cancer Research UK
- Global Newswire
- Mayo Clinic
- Mayo Clinic
- PR Newswire
- The Conversation