Despite a steady rise of obesity rates, fewer overweight Americans are trying to drop extra pounds, new research shows. "Socially acceptable body weight is increasing," the scientists write in JAMA. They theorize that as individuals see more overweight people around them, they become less "motivated to lose unhealthy weight." Another reason could be the demoralizing effect of failed diets, lead author Dr. Jian Zhang tells the AP. Zhang's team studied government health data stretching back 20 years for 27,000 adults aged 20 to 59. The surveys involved a physical exam and this question: "During the past 12 months, have you tried to lose weight?" About half of the adults were overweight or obese at the start with a body mass index of 25 to above 30. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese, per the CDC.
The percentage of those overweight or obese rose throughout the study period from 53% to 66% by the end in 2014, per Medical Xpress. At the same time, the percentage of those trying to shed pounds dropped from 56% to 49%. Black women had the highest obesity rates and the sharpest drop in a desire to lose pounds, from 66% to 55%. While there is a bright side to fat acceptance, Zhang says the findings are a "serious concern," with obesity linked to serious health effects such as heart disease and cancer. Weight loss is "really challenging," says Zhang, per the Daily News. "Let’s forget ‘fat,’ ‘obese,’ all the bad words. … Let’s just try to engage in a healthy lifestyle: eating less and moving." (This blogger posted "before and after" photos, but not the way you'd expect.)