Prevalence and correlates of weight gain attempts across five countries

Kyle T. Ganson*, Jason M. Nagata, Jason M. Lavender, Rachel F. Rodgers, Mitchell L. Cunningham, Stuart B. Murray, David Hammond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of weight gain attempts in a pooled sample of adults aged 18 and older from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Mexico. Method: Data collected during 2 years (2018 and 2019) of the International Food Policy Study (N = 42,108) were analyzed. Unadjusted 12-month prevalence of weight gain attempts was estimated based on body mass index (BMI; kg/m2), weight perception, country, survey year, and sex. Logistic regression analyses were estimated to determine the sociodemographic correlates (age, race/ethnicity, education, BMI, weight perception, weight perception accuracy, and self-rated mental health) of weight gain attempts among the pooled sample stratified by sex. Results: Men (10.4%) were significantly more likely than women (5.4%) to report weight gain attempts (p <.001). Nearly one in five (17.1%) men with a BMI in the “normal” range (≥18.5 to <25.0) reported weight gain attempts. Among both men and women, minority group identity was associated with higher odds, while older age and higher BMI category were associated with lower odds, of reporting weight gain attempts. Country differences over the two survey years showed the prevalence of weight gain attempts in 2019 (vs. 2018) was higher among women in Australia (p <.05) and men in the United States (p <.01). Discussion: Weight gain attempts are more common among men, compared to women, across five countries, potentially reflecting the global salience of the pursuit of a muscular body.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1829-1842
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • United States
  • body ideals
  • disordered eating
  • international
  • men
  • muscularity
  • weight gain attempts


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