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'Ideal weight' ballooning with American waistlines

10:40 AM, Nov 26, 2012   |    comments
USA Today
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As Americans pack on the pounds, so does their idea of the perfect weight, a new Gallup poll found.

The average adult weighs 176 pounds, according to the poll, up 15 pounds since Gallup started tracking weight in 1990. The average ideal weight is 162 pounds, up 13 pounds from 12 years ago.

"Americans appear to be slowly shifting to higher weights, adjusting their expectations of what is ideal over time, mirroring the increase in actual weight," the Gallup report said. "Americans' ideal weight today is the highest on record. And more adults than ever - 60 percent - say their weight is about right, despite the number of Americans who are overweight or obese remaining near an all-time high."

Nearly 36 percent of American adults are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from about 12 percent in 1990. Another 33 percent of adults are overweight, with the extra pounds raising the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.

The average ideal weight for men was 185 pounds, according to the poll, a Gallup record, and up 14 pounds since 1990. The average actual weight for men was 196 pounds, up 16 pounds since 1990.

The average ideal weight for women was 140 pounds, tying for the Gallup record in 2011 and up 11 pounds since 1990. The average actual weight for women was 156, up 14 pounds since 1990.

"These trends suggest that as Americans have grown heavier overall, their concept of what their ideal weight is has been adjusted upward as well," the Gallup report said.

While 65 percent of people polled said they exceeded their ideal weight, only 54 percent said they would like to lose weight and only 25 percent said they were "seriously trying," according to the report.

"Underscoring Americans' weight denial is the relatively low 25 percent who say they are seriously trying to lose weight," the report said, "much lower than the percentage who are above their ideal weight or say they would like to lose weight."


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