Currently, more than one in three American adults over 20 is obese — up from roughly one in four 20 years ago — and nearly 70% are overweight. And millions of other people are currently carrying more weight than they’d like this time of year, thanks to the annual holiday overeating ritual.
Many Americans experience not only health problems but also guilt and shame over these added pounds. And that’s why weight loss — an industry of diet companies, weight-loss supplement manufacturers, diet book authors and obesity doctors — is big business. Companies that focus on weight-loss services (think Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers) raked in $6.3 billion in revenue in 2015, according to an IBISWorld report; sales of supplements — many of which promise weight loss — add billions more. And doctors now perform hundreds of thousands of bariatric surgeries a year to help patients lose weight.
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