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58 Weight Loss Statistics & Health Benefits in 2021

Modern lifestyle has caused a surge in obesity throughout the world and, coupled with it, the intention for weight loss has also increased. Losing weight requires both willpower and dedication; however, even more important is knowing the right methods and lifestyle changes that must be adopted to achieve permanent changes. 

Employers should be invested in the health and wellbeing of their employees, as a healthy employee is more productive, has fewer health issues, and costs the company less in benefits. In this article, we will shed some light on what the science says about losing weight and its importance for employees.

Dieting Culture

  • An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year (BMC
  • Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight-loss products (BMC
  • A higher percentage of women (56.4%) than men (41.7%) have tried to lose weight (CDC, 2018) 
  • Nearly half of adults (49.1%) attempted to lose weight within the last year (CDC, 2018) 
  • Obesity is more common among lower-income individuals, those with less education, and some ethnic/racial minorities (Wiley, 2009) 
  • 82% of respondents considered that weight loss was completely their own responsibility, while only 5% did not agree (Wiley, 2017) 
  • The COVID-19 pandemic will exacerbate the risk for weight gain especially among children (Wiley, 2020) 
  • 24% of Americans believe that sugar is most likely to cause weight gain (Statista, 2020) 
  • 80% of U.S. consumers try to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet (Statista, 2021)    
  • 19% of Americans buy groceries for a home-cooked meal from a farmer’s market (Statista, 2019)   
  • 64% of people prepare home-cooked meals for lunch (Statista, 2020)    
  • According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, more than 80% of diets are deficient in vegetables, fruits, and dairy. (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025)  
  • According to a 2020 research from Acosta’s marketing firm, 55% of American buyers have eaten at home more frequently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Acosta, 2020)  
  • According to a March 2020 study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, American teenagers who drink less water consume fewer fruits and vegetables, drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, and engage in less physical activity. (American Journal of Health Promotion, 2020) 

Global need for weight loss

  • 40% of adults in the U.S. have obesity and another 32% are overweight (Eurekalert, 2020) 
  • Globally, more than 1.9 billion adults are overweight, out of which 650 million adults are obese (WHO, 2020) 
  • 28.5% of elderly adults aged 65 and older were obese in 2019 (United Health Foundation, 2019) 
  • The cost of obesity is estimated to reach 5%-to-14% of health expenditures for 2020-2050 (Frontiers in Nutrion, 2020) 
  • The annual medical cost of obesity is estimated to be $149.5 billion (PubMed, 2016) 
  • Out of all the OECD countries, Japan has the lowest rate of obesity (3.7%) which is considerably lower than the average of 19.5% (OECD, 2019) 
  • Colorado has the lowest rate of obesity (22.6%) among U.S. states, and West Virginia has the highest rate (38.1%) (United Health Foundation, 2018)
  • 25.6% of U.S. adults don’t exercise (Statista, 2020)    
  • 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 (RunRepeat, 2021) 
  • Surprisingly, 32.17% of the 19,903 people surveyed were able to shed weight during the pandemic (RunRepeat, 2020)  
  • For the sake of losing ten pounds or more, 40 million Americans are willing to give up social media (RunRepeat, 2021)  
  • Adults are willing to give up sex in 22% of cases, and 17% are willing to give up their favorite T.V. or streaming service if it means dropping 10 pounds or more (RunRepeat, 2020)  
  • According to a recent survey, 71% of Americans gained weight during the pandemic (RunRepeat, 2021) 

Corporate Weight
Program Vendors

Methods for weight loss

  • The most common weight loss method is exercising (62.9%), along with eating less food (62.9%), and followed by consuming more fruits, vegetables, and salads (50.4%) (CDC, 2018) 
  • The average woman needs about 1,500 calories a day to lose weight, while the average man needs 2,000 calories (Healthline
  • Drinking more water, especially before meals, increases the metabolic rate by 30%, which is helpful with weight loss (PubMed, 2003) 
  • Cutting carbs is an effective weight-loss method, as it reduces appetite (Wiley, 2008) 
  • A high-protein diet reduces appetite and food cravings, increases the metabolic rate, and prevents weight regain (PubMed, 2005) 
  • Sugary soft drinks, fruit juices, chocolate milk, and other beverages with added sugar should be avoided as they are linked to an increased risk of obesity (PubMed, 2011) 
  • The top-selling weight management brand in U.S. convenience stores is Muscle Milk (Statista, 2019)    
  • 37% of U.S. consumers use a step counter app regularly (Statista, 2021)    

Health Effects
of Obesity

  • The biggest motivator for weight loss among obese Americans (77%) is to improve overall health (NORC, 2016) 
  • The rise of obesity in the United States may slow or reverse the trend of increasing life expectancy (Wiley, 2009) 
  • Obesity is linked to many diseases such as stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other serious health conditions (CDC, 2020) 
  • A modest weight loss of 5%-to-10% of a person’s body weight will produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar (CDC, 2020) 
  • People who lose weight gradually (about 1-to-2 pounds per week) are more successful in keeping it off (CDC, 2020) than those who lose drastic amounts
  • 14.8% of U.S. high school students are obese  (Statista, 2020) 
  • 26.2% is the obesity rate among adults in California (Statista, 2020)   
  • 48% of people believe obesity is caused by their diet (Statista, 2020)    
  • Adults between the ages of 40 and 59 have the most significant percentage of obesity (43%) of any age group. Obesity is prevalent in people aged 60 and up, with a rate of 41% (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025) 
  • The percentage of U.S. adults diagnosed with diabetes is 10.1% (Statista, 2020) 
  • Approximately 74% of adults are overweight or obese (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025) 
  • More than 11% of people have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or higher (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025)  
  • High total cholesterol (240 mg/dL) affects more women (12%) than men (10%) (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025)  
  • 7% of children and adolescents have a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or above (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025) 

Strategies to encourage weight loss

  • Legislative interventions such as “junk food” tax, banning soft drink vending machines, improving nutritional labeling, regulating sodium consumption help the public be more conscious of their food consumption (CMAJ, 2011) 
  • Tax revenues may be used to provide more parks, playgrounds, make price reductions for healthier foods (Wiley, 2019) 
  • Medicalizing the obese diagnosis helps ensure continual insurance coverage for the severely obese (Frontiers in Nutrition, 2020) 
  • 78% of employees said that they would use their company gym if their employer had one (Treadmill Reviews
  • Companies that implement corporate wellness programs have healthier employees  
  • School-based initiatives such as better food in canteens, improved sports facilities, and learning proper nutrition can help lower obesity in children, it has been shown that healthy-weight children perform 13% better and school (OECD, 2019) 
  • Doing more exercise or improving fitness was the No.1 solution in the U.S. for 2021 (50%) (Statista, 2021)
  • Weight Watchers is still one of the world’s most successful commercial weight loss companies, with 5 million members and $334 million in revenue in the second quarter of 2020 (RunRepeat, 2021)
  • In 2021, 60% of adults in the U.S. want to live a healthier lifestyle (RunRepeat, 2021)

Losing weight is a commitment that many make, yet most have trouble keeping. Gaining knowledge may be the best approach to losing weight. Having a fact-based approach and trusting the science behind it is a safe way to achieve weight loss.  Companies can help their employees with weight management programs