Perceived Ideal Weight Rises with Average Weight

A recent Gallup poll shows that as Americans gain weight, their perception of ideal weight rises too. In the poll, which was conducted in 1991, 1999, and every year since 2001, men’s perception of the average ideal weight has risen 14 pounds, from 171 to 185, as their actual average self-reported weight has risen from 180 to 196. Women, too, have seen their averages rise, from 129 to 140 for ideal and from 142 to 156 for actual.

This means 65% of all adults are above their ideal weight. However, the majority of Americans also tell Gallup their weight is “about right,” a finding  that hasn’t changed much over time. In the most recent poll, that percentage, which usually hovers in the low- to mid- 50s, rose to an unprecedented 60%. Despite this, 54% of those surveyed say they would like to lose weight, showing that Americans hold confounding views of their weight.

Click here to read the Gallup study and here to read about it in the LA Times.