Survey: Americans' desire to shed pounds exceeds actual effort

The current 26-percentage-point gap between those who want to lose weight and those who are actively trying to do so is slightly narrower than the gap found in most years since 2002. The percentage saying they would like to lose weight has dropped eight points since 2011. At the same time, the percentage trying to lose weight has dropped four points.

These results are based on Gallup’s annual Health and Healthcare survey, conducted Nov. 7-10 this year. Gallup has asked Americans to report their attitudes toward their weight and their current weight situation yearly since 2002 and occasionally before then.

Americans’ desire to lose weight has not kept up with the rise in adults’ self-reported weight over the past 23 years. Americans report weighing an average of 15 pounds more now than in 1990, but the percentage who want to lose weight is the same now as it was then.