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Almost every second adult in Germany is unhappy with their weight

Lose a few kilos and become slimmer - many people make this New Year's resolution. A Forsa survey commissioned by stern magazine on the subject of nutrition shows: Almost every second adult in Germany is unhappy with their weight.

Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and joint and
Being overweight increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and joint and back

Forsa survey commissioned by stern - Almost every second adult in Germany is unhappy with their weight

Advent, Christmas, New Year: for many people, this is the time when their pants are tighter than usual. A representative Forsa survey commissioned by stern revealed that almost every second adult in Germany is unhappy with their weight. According to the survey, 45 percent of Germans feel too fat and three percent too thin. 50 percent are generally satisfied with their weight. The survey was conducted between December 13 and 15, 2023.

The proportion of dissatisfied people is particularly high among those in employment: 52% of them feel they are too fat. Of pensioners, 37% say this, while only 22% of schoolchildren and students do. In the latter group, 13 percent think they are too thin. By contrast, there are hardly any notable gender differences among the respondents. Across all age groups, 44 percent of men think they are too fat. The figure for women is 47 percent.

When you think about your current weight: do you personally feel too fat, too thin or are you happy with your weight overall?

You feel ...

too fat (in %)

... too thin (in %)... satisfied with their weight (in %)
in total45350
18- to 29-year-olds321156
30- to 44-year-olds53344
45- to 59-year-olds54143
60 years and older40258

Women have more dieting experience than men

14 percent of respondents state that they have already been on a diet once. 34 percent have tried diets several times. Although the genders are so close in terms of body image, the proportion of women with dieting experience is significantly higher (61%) than men (35%). Regardless of gender, 69 percent of those who feel too fat have dieting experience. 30 percent of them have never been on a diet.

Have you ever dieted to reduce your weight?

Yes, once (in %)Yes, several times (in %)No (in %)
in total143450
18- to 29-year-olds82567
30- to 44-year-olds203346
45- to 59-year-olds124045
60 years and older163648
Respondents who feel too fat175230
Respondents who are satisfied with their weight132165

Healthy food before cheap food

What do Germans look for when shopping in the supermarket? Healthy food plays an important or very important role for the majority of respondents. For example, 80 percent of respondents stated that they look for particularly healthy food when shopping - the most frequently mentioned criterion.

74 percent consider it particularly important that the food comes from the region. 65 percent that they are inexpensive. Organic farming is important to just over half (54%) of respondents. A good rating on the food traffic light, such as the Nutri-Score, tends to play a subordinate role for respondents: only 33% named it as an important or very important purchasing criterion.

What ends up in the shopping cart is also a question of gender and age. Women are more likely than men to attach importance to food being particularly healthy, locally sourced and organically grown. Older respondents aged 60 and over are more likely than younger respondents to ensure that food comes from their region and has a good rating on the food traffic light. Organic farming, on the other hand, is more important to those under 30 than to older people.

What criteria do you usually use when choosing food?

When buying food, it is (very) important to you personally that it ...overallMen Women18- to 29-year-olds30 to 44-year-olds45- to 59-year-olds60 years and older
... are particularly healthy80748678767885
... come from the region74697864697382
... are favorable65636766696761
... come from organic farming54485967464856
... have a good rating on the food traffic light system such as the Nutri-Score33313420273540

Those who have less money available per month place more value on low prices

Net household income also plays a role in the choice of food, as the survey shows. Affordable prices are (very) important to 78 percent of those with a lower income, but only 58 percent of respondents with a higher income.

When buying food, it is (very) important to you personally that it is (in %)Net household income (euros) under 2500 (in %)Net household income (euros) 2500 to under 4000 (in %)Net household income (euros) 4000 and more (in %)
... are particularly healthy80787881
... come from the region74777275
... are favorable65786558
... come from organic farming54505259
... have a good rating on the food traffic light system such as the Nutri-Score33353032

The kitchen stays cold for just under one in ten

Just over one in five (22%) respondents said they normally cook their own meals with fresh ingredients every day. 23 percent do this five to six days a week, 30 percent on three to four days and 15 percent on one to two days. For just under one in ten respondents, the kitchen remains mostly cold: nine percent cook less than once a week or not at all.

Comparative figures from a Forsa survey in November 2019 are available for this question. According to this, slightly more Germans (22%) now say they cook every day than four years ago (16%).

How many days a week do you usually cook your own meals with fresh ingredients?

every day (in %)five to six days (in %)three to four days (in %)one to two days (in %)less often than once a week / not at all
in total222330159
18- to 29-year-olds201834208
30- to 44-year-olds142831189
45- to 59-year-olds1724301710
60 years and older3122271010
Employed persons162531189

The Forsa survey was conducted on behalf of stern magazine, which deals with the topic of healthy eating in its current cover story. Readers find out why modern nutrition can be bad for health and weight and how they can lose a few kilos without having to sacrifice pleasure. A nutritionist also gives weight loss tips for everyday life.

Read more:

  • Forget short-term diet programs. This is how losing weight really works - and sustainably
  • A psychologist on bad habits - and how to get rid of them
  • Slim thanks to sport? Not at all! An evolutionary biologist dispels the biggest weight loss myth
  • Why belly fat is so dangerous - and how to get rid of it without dieting

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