New Report Shows Americans Struggle to Lose Weight Due to Lack of Support and “Wellness” Confusion

A new report assessing the current state of weight loss in the United States explores the disparity between a public that is more aware than ever of healthy eating, yet still fighting the weight-loss battle. The report was commissioned by Jenny Craig, a leader in the weight loss industry, and revealed that Americans are no longer in the dark about healthy eating – as 92 percent believe they know the right foods to eat – yet more than half still knowingly make poor food choices daily, and two-thirds are currently looking to lose weight. The report seeks to uncover what is causing this paradox and what can be done to help.

Following these findings, it comes as no surprise that more than half of Americans are either currently on a weight loss program or considering starting one – and results show that convenience is key in making the decision. When it comes to science-based weight loss programs, being easy to follow and providing personal support and attention are the top reasons people select and stick to a program. What’s more, nearly nine in 10 (88 percent) believe that having healthy, prepared meals would help them reach their weight-related goals.

“Having a practical, science-based nutrition plan as well as ongoing support increases the chance of success for people on their weight loss journey,” said Dr. Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, FACSM, chair of the Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board. “The data shows that Americans spend seven to 14 hours planning and preparing meals each week. Since many busy people have limited time, a program that helps relieve some of this stress can enhance overall wellbeing.”

Consumers also cite confusion around the word “wellness” and express skepticism around the term. For more than half of men (51 percent), wellness is perceived as nothing more than a buzzword. When wellness was defined as “the state of being in good health, especially as an actively achieved goal,” 87 percent of men and women responded that physical wellness was most important to obtaining personal wellness, followed closely by emotional wellness (83 percent). In order to help support members’ overall wellness, Jenny Craig focuses on providing science-backed solutions by utilizing the latest research on circadian rhythm and meal timing to help members reap health benefits beyond weight loss.

Additional key survey findings include:

  • More men than women (75 percent vs. 43 percent) are willing to try a weight loss program to help lose weight this New Year
  • Less than half of Americans state that they have adequate support to be at a healthy weight (46 percent); one-third say they feel that they do not have the support they need (31 percent)
  • 40 percent cite stress as the top reason for their weight loss struggles
  • Nearly three in five people spend seven to 14 hours or more planning and preparing meals each week
  • Nearly one-third of people would get more sleep if they didn’t have to spend time planning and preparing meals
  • Americans are confused about wellness; 42 percent are unsure or do not think it is easy to define
  • A majority of Americans plan to make health and wellness-related New Year’s resolutions this year; eating healthier and losing weight are among the top three resolutions for 2019

“Despite better health education and access to information, this report shows society is struggling with weight at unprecedented levels,” said Monty Sharma, CEO and president of Jenny Craig. “As a leader in the weight loss industry, we pride ourselves on developing programs backed by proven, scientific methods. We commissioned this report to gain further insight into how we can better employ these methods to help people find success on their health journeys and achieve sustainable weight loss. The report findings reiterated the importance of one-on-one support, personalized plans and premium prepared meals, which Jenny Craig provides.”