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125 Weight Loss Statistics (Physicians Should Read)

A new global study carried out across 30 countries, finds 45% of people globally say that they are currently trying to lose weight. This is part of a continuing trend that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The CDC estimates 41.9 percent of the U.S. population is categorized as obese.

The annual estimated medical cost of obesity in the U.S., meanwhile, is thought to be in the region of nearly $173 billion, with obese adults found to rack up $1,861 more in medical costs than those of a healthy weight.

Doctors recognize obesity as a health problem. So why is it so hard for them to talk to their patients about it? 72% of the physicians surveyed said that they lacked training to deal with issues related to weight loss.

Source: Newsweek

In this weight loss statistic roundup, you’ll learn:

  • How the Weight Loss Service Industry is set up for Huge Growth
  • The Case for Medical Weight Loss
  • The Weight Loss Time Bomb
  • Key Factors in Weight Loss & Obesity
  • How the Covid Pandemic Impacted Weight Gain
  • US Dieting Culture and Weight Loss
  • How Consumers are Trying to Lose Weight
  • Which Consumers are Spending on Weight Loss Programs
So, without further ado, here’s a roundup of the most newsworthy stats about weight loss . Let’s dive right in:

The Weight Loss Service Industry — Huge Demand, Huge Growth

  • The market size, measured by revenue, of the Weight Loss Services industry is $2.8bn in 2022.
  • The market size of the Weight Loss Services industry is expected to increase 2.5% in 2022.
  • The Weight Loss Services industry in the US is the 25th ranked Other Services (except Public Administration) industry by market size and the 650th largest in the US.
  • The global market for weight loss products and services should grow from $254.9 billion in 2021 to reach $377.3 billion by 2026.

The biggest opportunity for growth in the Weight Loss Services industry in the US is related to the adult obesity rate, which measures the percentage of US citizens aged 20 and older whose BMI is 30.0 or higher. As the prevalence of adult obesity increases, demand for services from the Weight Loss Services industry is expected to increase.

Sources: (Medscape)

"Medical weight loss plans as a niche weight loss business have been outperforming and likely will into the future."

Source: ibisworld

The Opportunity Cost For Medical Weight Loss

With the crushing weight of statistics, can the weight loss service industry meet the needs of the US population?
  • 1 out of every 3 U.S. adults is obese.
  • Non-Hispanic black women experience the highest rates of obesity in America at 59%.
  • Obesity rates are higher for Hispanic, Mexican American, and non-Hispanic black populations than they are for Caucasians.
  • The South and the Midwest have the highest obesity prevalence.
  • All U.S. states and territories have an obesity rate of at least 20%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020

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The Weight Loss Time-Bomb & The Cost of Obesity

This is not a problem that will go away any time soon. Within the next decade, it is likely that 50% of Americans will be obese and 20% will be diabetic. The hard costs today today include:
  • The medical care costs of obesity are almost $150 billion per year in the U.S.
  • Obese individuals spend about $1,500 more on medical care for themselves than people of healthy weight.
  • Obesity-related medical costs could rise by $48 to $66 billion per year by 2030.

Source: Harvard

Does Age Affect Obesity & Weight Loss?

Age is another factor that is important to consider when talking about obese Americans. The data supports the many anecdotal news stories about overweight Americans.

  • 40% of adult Americans that are aged 20-39 are obese.
  • 45% of adult Americans that are aged 40-59 are obese.
  • 43% of adult Americans that are aged 60 and older are obese.
  • Nearly one-half (49.1%) of adults tried to lose weight within the last 12 months.
  • 42.7% older adults aged 60 and over tried to lose weight
  • 49.7% younger adults aged 20–39 tried to lose weight
  • 52.4% of middle-aged adults aged 40–59 tried to lose weight

Source: CDC

Does Geography Matter for Weight Loss and Obesity?

Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity:
Rank State Obesity Rate
1 Mississippi 40.8%
2 West Virginia 39.7%
3 Arkansas 37.4%
4 Oklahoma 36.8%
5 Kentucky 36.5%
6 Tennessee 36.5%
7 Alabama 36.1%
8 Michigan 36%
9 Louisiana 35.9%
10 South Carolina 35.4%

How Did the Covid Pandemic Impact Weight Loss?

An APA Stress in America survey conducted in late February 2021 found 42% of U.S. adults reported undesired weight gain since the start of the pandemic, with an average gain of 29 pounds.

  • With the pandemic still raging in 2021, maintaining a healthy weight is the primary concern for 59% of women and 47% of men, with a total of 51% wishing to reduce weight.
  • Surprisingly, 32.17% of the 19,903 people surveyed were able to shed weight during the pandemic.
  • Women from the US were 19.02% more likely to gain weight than men.
  • New York was both the state that had the most people report gaining weight overall (41.57%) as well as the state with the highest percentage of people reporting they gained more than 5 lbs (31.43%).
  • A WebMD poll discovered that 70% of persons who gained weight were due to stress eating caused by concerns regarding their jobs, homes, and future in general.
  • The United States had the highest percentage of people gain weight (40.52%) during the pandemic.

Source: RunRepeat

US Dieting Culture and Weight Loss

Not surprisingly, weight loss has been on the top of many Americans’ minds, especially with things like diet culture, popular fad diets, and social media putting pressure on people to look a certain way.

In a recent Mayo Clinic survey, however, 83% stated that physical appearance is no longer their primary motivator. In fact, their main motivation in 2022 is improving their health.

  • An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year.
  • Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight-loss products.
  • A higher percentage of women (56.4%) than men (41.7%) have tried to lose weight.
  • Nearly half of adults (49.1%) attempted to lose weight within the last year.
  • 82% of respondents considered that weight loss was completely their own responsibility, while only 5% did not agree.

Source: National Library of Medicine

What Motivates People to Lose Weight?

People who are trying to lose weight report multiple reasons for doing so. Here are 10 of the most commonly reported motivations, according to a study in Obesity Reviews:

  1. Want to improve their wellbeing (95%)
  2. Wish to improve their physical fitness (84%)
  3. Would like to better their self-esteem (74%)
  4. Want to improve their appearance (71%)
  5. Want to lose weight for their spouse or partner (46%)
  6. Were told to lose weight by a health professional (40%)
  7. Wish to improve their social life or avoid discrimination (38%)
  8. Would like to improve their health or prevent diseases (35%)
  9. Say it will help their professional life (33%)
  10. Want to lose weight for their family members (28%)

"25% of Americans would consider, or have done, laser fat removal to achieve their "perfect" or ideal body."

Source: valuepenguin

How are Consumers Trying to Lose Weight?

Generally, men trying to lose weight are more likely to focus on exercise alone than women. Women trying to lose weight are typically more focused on their nutrition goals.
  • Among Gen Z men 63% are focused solely on exercise
  • Among millennial men 42% are focused solely on exercise
  • Among Gen X women, 40% are focused solely on dieting

Source: Valuepenguin

Does the Summer Increase the Desire to Lose Weight?

Women feel most pressure to be fit in summer, but young men feel it, too. While more than 4 in 10 (42%) Americans feel pressured to get fit for the summer, the youngest generations are overwhelmingly more susceptible to the “beach body” mentality than their older peers. In fact:
  • 71% of Gen Zers ages 18 to 25 feel pressured to have a beach body
  • 59% of millennials ages 26 to 41
  • 30% of Gen Xers ages 42 to 56
  • 19% of baby boomers ages 57 to 76
Along the same lines, 25% of Americans would consider, or have done, laser fat removal to achieve their “perfect” or ideal body.”

Source: Valuepenguin

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Which Consumers are Spending on Weight Loss Programs?

According to worldometer, people in the U.S. have spent a total of $123.7 million on weight loss programs as of September 2021.

  • 17% of American adults were on a special diet (weight loss, low-calorie, low carbohydrate, low-fat, low cholesterol)
  • 19% are women
  • 15.1% are men
  • People aged 40 to 59 at 19.2%
  • People aged 20 to 39 at 13.3%

The Southern states have the highest adult obesity rates in the US. Americans here who purchase weight loss products spend an average of $5,176.

Source: (Trust for America’s Health)


Obesity has serious health consequences including increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and many types of cancers. Obesity is estimated to increase healthcare spending by $149 billion annually (about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid).

When consumers are starting a weight loss journey, it’s a natural step for them to talk to their doctor about your health conditions and healthy methods to drop pounds. Physicians are well-positioned to provide expertise and support in both inpatient and private practice settings.

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