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Half of women who aren’t overweight want to lose weight anyway (but 1 in 4 men who are, don’t)

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2014 – June 2015, n = 15,241 Australians 18+

72% of Australian women (aged 18+) say they would like to lose weight, while 56% are actually overweight—and this disconnect in body perception is widest among young women aged 18-24, Roy Morgan Research shows. 

Among women aged 18-24, 36% are overweight*, yet twice as many agree with the statement, “I would like to be able to lose weight” (72%). With Single Source research, we can investigate the real cross-over, and find that while over 9 out of 10 overweight young women agree they want to lose weight, so do 60% of those with a BMI below 25.

Across all age groups, at least 7 in 10 women say they want to lose weight—consistently outnumbering those who actually have a BMI 25 and over. Overall, 50% of women with a BMI under 25 nevertheless say they would like to lose weight.

Proportions who are Overweight or Would like to lose weight

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2014 – June 2015, n = 15,241 Australians 18+. *The World Health Organization defines Overweight as a Body Mass Index (weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared) of 25 or over.

Among men, the number in each age group who say they want to lose weight more closely mirrors the actual incidence of overweight men—but there is, perhaps, a converse issue. Although men with a BMI under 25 are far less likely than women to want to lose weight regardless, those who are overweight are also less likely: 63% of Aussie adult males are overweight, but 58% agree they would like to be able to lose weight. Almost a quarter of all overweight men actually disagree that they would like to lose weight—including 1 in 3 overweight men 18-24.

1.5 million Australian adults (8%) buy weight loss or meal replacement products in an average six month period—11% of women and 6% of men. And, reflecting their inflated weight loss ambitions above, women aged 18-24 are among the most likely to have bought these products in the last six months (13%).

Overall, 11% of overweight Australian adults buy weight loss or meal replacement products.

% who bought weight loss or meal replacement products in last six months

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, July 2014 – June 2015, n = 15,241 Australians 18+

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Men and women clearly have different attitudes to weight loss, especially 18 to 24 year-olds. Around 6 in 10 young women with a BMI less than 25 would still like to lose weight, while 1 in 3 younger men with a BMI over 25 don’t want to lose any.

“It may be that some younger men want muscle bulk that classifies them as overweight, while among younger women a BMI of 22-25 or so is not as ‘acceptable’ as it is, medically, across the total population.  

“18-24 year-old men and women with a BMI 25+ are each over 60% more likely than the average overweight Australian of their respective gender buy weight loss or meal replacement products. 22% of overweight young women and 13% of overweight young men have bought such items in the last six months.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2