42% of Americans Feel Pressured to Have a ‘Beach Body’ for Summer

Americans trying to lose weight may not have realistic goals

Beach bodies aren’t the only reason consumers are trying to get fit. Overall, 46% of Americans are actively trying to lose weight. Gen X women (61%) are the most likely to be trying to lose weight, followed by millennial women (55%).

However, among those trying to lose weight, half (50%) aren’t focused on nutrition and exercise, which may prevent them from meeting their goals. Overall, more Americans are focused solely on changing their nutrition goals (29%) than the percentage focused solely on changing their exercise habits (21%).

This is a graph about trying to lose weight

Generally, men trying to lose weight are more likely to focus on exercise alone than women. Among Gen Z men — the group least likely to equally balance diet and exercise (25%) — 63% are focused solely on exercise, followed by 42% of millennial men. On the other hand, women trying to lose weight are typically more focused on their nutrition goals — especially among Gen X women, where 40% are focused solely on dieting.

Although some may focus on exercise more than they should, most Americans with weight loss goals may not be hitting the gym as much as they should. Experts can recommend two-and-a-half to five hours of exercise a week to achieve weight loss goals, but almost half (42%) of Americans with weight loss goals spend less than three hours exercising every week.

Additionally, a quarter (25%) of those with weight loss goals skip annual checkups with their doctors, which may be why unrealistic weight loss goals are common.

According to Robin Townsend, ValuePenguin health and life insurance expert, Americans who don’t get annual checkups could miss out on the guidance they need to develop balanced weight loss plans.

“You’re more likely to stick with a weight loss plan built around personal goals and health status, and a health care provider can help you develop a program to match your needs,” Townsend says. “Your doctor can recommend a plan based on your health history, monitor your progress and make changes along the way.”

22% of those getting fit for an event don’t give themselves enough time
Americans losing weight aren’t the only ones with unrealistic goals. This summer, 30% of respondents say they have an event or milestone for which they want to get fit, but some may not give themselves enough time.

Experts say it generally takes three to four months to notice significant changes after implementing a new fitness plan. While the majority (78%) of those getting fit for an event give themselves three months or longer to prepare, that leaves around a quarter (22%) who give themselves just two months or less.

Gen Xers are the least likely to give themselves enough time, with 25% giving themselves two months or less to get fit. Among Gen Zers, who are the most likely to be getting fit for an event this summer, 9% give themselves less than a month to do so — above the 5% average.

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