Americans' Ideal Weight is on the Rise: What Would You like to Weigh?

Our average weight is up. So is our ideal weight.Our average weight is up. So is our ideal weight.It's no surprise that the scales are tipping in an unhealthy direction for many Americans. That's already resulting in higher rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, cancers, osteoarthritis, gynecological issues, strokes, and other obesity-related conditions, as well as having a big economic impact in the workplace, in schools, and on the healthcare system. But it's also effecting our dreams of how much we'd like to weigh, according to Gallup's Health and Healthcare Survey.

This annual poll by Gallup shows that the average American's weight is up, but so is the average American's ideal weight. There is an interesting twist to the findings, however. And yes, it has to do with what men would like to weigh compared to women's ideals.

Among both genders, Gallup finds that the average American's weight is 20 pounds higher than it was twenty years ago. Today, the average male respondent weighs 196 pounds, the average female weighs 160.

So what would would those polled like to see on the scale? The women said they'd ideally weigh 138, an increase of 9 pounds since 1991. The men, however, said their ideal weight is...exactly what they weigh on average -- 196 pounds.

Even more interesting, this ideal weight is up a whopping 16 pounds from the average man's ideal weight two decades ago. When Gallup made adjustments, they found that most women would need to lose 22 pounds to reach their ideal, and most men would have to shed 15 pounds to get there.

What has stayed the same, Gallup researchers say, is the percentage of people who admit they are overweight. Twenty years ago and in 2011, approximately 35% of men and 42% of women put themselves in this category.

While we may see this clearly, perhaps this poll shows our weight aspirations are getting more and more out of whack.

"Men and women are now adapting their ideal to their higher actual weights," the Gallup Organization commented. "While Americans are getting heavier, many may not recognize it or acknowledge it."

Has your ideal weight gone up over the years? What is the magic number you'd like to see on the scale?


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