Americans report average weight held steady in 2020 despite pandemic

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Despite the risks posed by forced inactivity, the percentage of Americans reporting they were overweight last year during the coronavirus pandemic did not rise, Gallup pollsters say.

Instead, Americans' self-described weight remained roughly the same in 2020 as the previous year, with 41% saying they are overweight -- 42% reported this in 2019, Gallup said in survey results released Monday.


Also similar to 2019, just over half (51%) said their weight is about right, while a small percentage (6%) report being underweight.

Generally, the authors said, Gallup's November Health and Healthcare poll found that despite fears the pandemic would lead to significant weight gain due to limits on mobility, Americans are reporting that has not been the case.

Rather, they said their weight did not change much in 2020, averaging 181 pounds among all U.S. adults. Men reported averaging 200 pounds, while women reported averaging about 162 pounds.

The poll, held annually since 2001, was conducted between Nov. 5- and 19 among 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

While the poll showed Americans saying they did not gain weight during the pandemic, it also indicated they did not take advantage of the opportunity to change their eating and exercise habits to lose pounds.


The steadiness may "mask opposing storylines," the pollsters said.

"While some may have found it easier to diet and exercise during the pandemic, possibly shedding unwanted pounds, others may have become more sedentary while switching to remote work or school and struggled to avoid the temptations of overeating at home, thus gaining weight," they said.

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