Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
More than half of Americans say they'd rather lose $1,000 than gain 20 pounds, a new survey shows. Women (63%) are more likely to feel that way than men (48%).
"Twenty pounds outweighs a thousand dollars because it could cost more than a thousand dollars to lose the weight if you consider the price of weight-loss programs, and those extra pounds could take a toll on your health and ultimately increase your medical costs," says Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the International Food Informational Council Foundation, which sponsored the annual online survey of 1,000 people, ages 18 to 80.
Heather Mangieri, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, isn't surprised that many people would rather lose money than gain weight, because losing those 20 pounds would be gut-busting hard work. "It's not a job that you can clock in and clock out," she says. "It's a commitment that requires attention all day every day."
When it comes to their diets, the survey found that people give themselves an average grade of B-minus, but they give other folks' diets a C-minus. People give themselves a C-plus on physical activity.
Among the other findings:
• 56% of respondents say they are trying to lose weight; 27% say they are trying to maintain their weight; 3% are trying to gain; 15% are doing nothing.
• The biggest barriers for those who are trying to lose weight: lack of willpower, don't like to exercise, don't see enough progress when they try to lose; eat when they are under emotional strain.
• 38% often or always think about the calories they consume; 31% sometimes do; about 30% rarely or never think about calories.
• 81% say they eat more healthfully when they are at home than when they are at a restaurant.
• Taste is the primary factor that influences people's selection of food and beverages, followed by price, healthfulness and convenience.