Weight loss, millennials are obsessed with it, yet many are still obese

Are we getting fitter?

We’re constantly following hashtags such as #fitspo, #fitnessgoals on Instagram. We’re looking up the latest fitness trends and healthy diets to follow. This brings us to the question – are we getting fitter as a generation? According to the latest Google search data, weight loss searches have increased over time while those on obesity have decreased. The research, conducted by European Association for the Study of Obesity, suggests a normalisation of obesity in society.

Dr Aditya S Pawar and colleagues studied data of awareness about obesity over the last twelve years worldwide. They used Google Trends, which is based on the number of times worldwide the terms ‘Obesity’, ‘Weight loss ‘and ‘Obese’ were searched for using Google between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2017.

Method for study

The program assigns a reference value of 100 for the point of maximum popularity among the search terms, and provides relative monthly scores for all terms, which were termed relative interest scores (RIS).

The term ‘weight loss’ appeared to be especially popular during the month of January and its median RIS for January (n=12months) as compared to other months (n=122 months) was higher during the entire study period (88 vs 72), a result which was statistically significant. The RIS for term ‘obese’ did not change significantly over the study period.

The results

Dr Pawar concluded, “Despite an increase in the prevalence of obesity, its popularity on the internet continues to decrease with time as reflected by the RIS score, which may suggest ‘normalisation’ of obesity in our society. Reassuringly however, the frequency of the search term ‘weight loss’ has increased significantly overtime, with significant interest in January every year.”

This outcome may correspond with this research that says, in 27 years from now, almost a quarter of the global population will be obese. This 1/4th of us will be suffering from obesity. Also, according to a Goldman Sachs report, millennials are spending the most money on wellness products. Their definition of healthy is very different from that of the older generation. While the older generation (referred to as baby boomers) considered healthy as being “well”, millennials consider health as an overall state of being.

So, though our idea about obesity is getting normalised, we are still looking for a well-balanced mind and body experience.