“It’s hard to drop pounds,” Zhang said by email. “It’s a life-long commitment and painful, and many of us have tried and failed, tried and failed, and finally failed to try anymore.” A lot of heavier adults are probably also seeing so many other overweight and obese people that they feel comfortable at their current size and don’t feel social pressure to slim down.
“This might be explained, at least partially, by increasing evidence that adults who are overweight may live as long as and sometimes even longer than normal weight adults,” Zhang said.
The decline in weight-loss efforts occurred mostly among adults who were overweight but not yet obese, Zhang added. For the study, researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative health survey for three time periods: 1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2004 and 2009 to 2014.
Among other things, the survey asked overweight and obese adults if they had tried to lose weight during the past 12 months.