Millions of people in the US are trying to lose weight every day. The demand for product, services, and education has made the weight loss industry worth an incredible $3.4 Billion in 2023, in the US alone. And with 80% of adults saying they “could be healthier” more growth can be expected.
Key Weight Loss Business Insights
In this article we’ll look at some of the weight loss statistics that are fueling this market. These data can be invaluable in developing key insights for products and services, researching consumer behavior, and for predicting or identifying trends.
These data are compiled by the International Food Information Council, a resource we will pull from throughout this article. They are a nonprofit food education and research organization focused on science, health and the environment. While only 14% responded that they are overweight or obese, their other responses indicate that 30% were overweight and 27% were obese based on their BMI (body mass index).
Additional data has been collected by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These data are based on medical records, not surveys.
Attitudes Toward Weight Gain and Loss
Psychology is an important aspect of all behaviors, and weight loss is no exception. Here we look at some sampling data collected by the Journal Obesity. 
More data can be extracted from a Survey of Americans taken and collated by the CDC . Combined with the raw demographic data, and the incidences of obesity, the statistics that follow finish painting the broad strokes of weight loss in America.
Obesity Reviews, another journal, also collated data from dozens of weight loss studies, and we’ll pull their data regarding people’s motivations for losing weight:
The lowest percentage of people losing weight are:
The following are the top ways that people tried to lose weight, ranked in order. Many of respondants, of course, answered with more than one option.
Additionally, 83% of people try two or more avenues to lose weight. For more information on food choices related to weight loss, please read below under the Food Choice header, and the Diet subheader.
Losing weight, also by the CDC’s estimation, can have substantial health benefits. Losing even only 5-10% body weight can improve blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugars. Also, people who lose only 1-2 pounds per week are more likely to keep their weight off.
In related data, market analysts put the costs of obesity on the heatlh care system at $210 Billion/year.
Types of Weight Loss
The two main ways people use to lose weight, as reported by survey, are exercise and diet. These responses, however, do not take into account supplement use. It is important to make several inferences and deductions based on this discrepancy. It isn’t known whether the CDC specifically excluded supplement questions, or if people are not honest on healthcare surveys about supplement use for weight loss.
Getting physical remains one of the key components to getting in shape and losing weight. We’ll take a look at some of the data about how much and how often people are exercising. One important caveat is that almost all of this data is based on surveys.Yoga is the fastest growing type of exercise. From 2010 to 2021, Yoga participants went from 21 Million to 34.4 Million people per year.
Physical Activity by Type
We can narrow our focus a little more by examining where and how people are exercising.
- 64 Million Americans have gym memberships of some kind. 
- That’s a full third of worldwide numbers (184.61 gym memberships globally). 
- Bicycling is the largest exercise group by type, with 51.4 Million Americans saying they ride a bike at least once in a year. 
- 49 Million Americans run or jog, but that number is on the decline 
- Less than 31 Million people use weights or machines, which number is down over 15% since COVID. 
Other miscellaneous data can add context to people’s main exercise  routines. For instance:
- 37% of consumers use step counters, but step counters  are only 50-75% accurate. 
- 90% of successful weight loss participants exercise an average of one hour per day. 
- 94% of weight losers increase physical activity, usually with more walking.
Given that over 80% of people try more than one way to lose weight, and that 10 of the top 11 ways are food related, it’s important to look at what the diets may consist of.
- According to the Int’l Food Info Council, 10% of all dieters use calorie counting.
- Nearly 40% of people say the reason to diet is “to lose weight”.
- Just under 30% wanted to prevent weight gain.
- Meanwhile 58% of these same people snack at least once a day.
- Almost 25% said multiple times per day.
Separate data from the CDC  indicate that:
- 17.1% of adults are on a diet; this is much lower than the ~30% using the weight-loss data, also from the CDC.
- The most common diet is calorie restriction.
More of these data can be found in our “Diet Failure Statistics”. Additional data from the NWCR participants tell us that 98% of success stories include changing food habits in some way.
Despite the missing supplement data in many of our surveys thus far, supplements have become a billion dollar industry, much of that for weight loss; those sales aren’t coming from no one.
- 15% of US adults use some form of supplement for weight loss.
- That comes to 21% of women, and 10% of men.
- $2.1 Billion in supplements for weight loss alone are sold every year.
- Weight loss is a top-20 reason for supplement use. 
For more information on supplements in general, and for weight loss, please see our Supplements Statistics article, here.
People’s attitudes toward food can tell us a lot about how food intake may influence their weight and weight loss. The following were gathered by the International Food Information Council. These data can be collated with the previous CDC survey data, above.
Attitudes Toward Food
Finding out how people feel about food can give insight into how they conceptualize it impacting their weight and weight loss. This can also inform perceptions about the CDC data, and how people choose between options such as “eat less junk food” and “eat more fruits and vegetables.
78% of successful weight loss participants eat breakfast everyday.
75% weight themselves once a week.
62% watch less than 10 hours of television a week.