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PR tips
and advice for SMEs


Americans would rather lose 20 lbs of weight than $2K of debt, survey finds.

We received this press release from, and the well researched data and eye catching infographic that accompanied the release is the reason it made press release of the week on the PR Pioneer site. The study looks at the fitness debt across America, and whether the population would rather lose weight or pay off a debt of $2,000!

anastase maragos FP7cfYPPUKM unsplash 300x200 - Americans would rather lose 20 lbs of weight than $2K of debt

As we steadily make our way into 2022, the resolutions we made a few months earlier – to spend and eat less – begin to fade from our collective memory. Many of us will be left to ponder two frustratingly large figures: the one that shows up in our credit card bill, and the one that appears on the bathroom scale… But which would the average American prefer to lose most? A bulging waistline or a hefty debt?

It’s a hypothetical question which, the world’s leading strength training resource and news outlet, sought to find the answer to when they questioned 5,337 (18+) respondents. They asked:

Would you rather 20 lbs of weight, or $2,000 of debt?

It turns out that Americans are more concerned about their fitness debt than their financial debt. 57% concluded that losing weight is more important to them – this is broadly in line with the national average. Indeed, when it comes to fitness, many Americans haven’t been doing nearly as much as the recommended amount per week…

Fitness debt*, or fitness deficit, can be defined as the difference between how much exercise you should be doing (according to CDC recommended guidelines of 150 minutes per week), and the amount of exercise you actually do on a regular basis. If you’re exercising your body for fewer hours than it needs to function optimally, you have a fitness debt, which can be measured as a percentage. Over time, a fitness deficit can add up and negatively impact one’s health, leading to things like weight gain and increased risk of certain health factors – much like how a poor credit score can affect finances.

Another study by revealed that that overall, Americans have an average fitness debt of 14.9 hours per year (-11%), as compared to the CDC recommended amount of 130 hours per year (which is 150 minutes per week).

When these figures were broken down across the states, it was discovered that the two Dakotas were actually in an overall fitness credit to themselves! South Dakota had a fitness credit of 7.3%, working out for 7.3 hours more per year than the CDC recommended amount of 130 hours. North Dakota also had a fitness credit, but of 3.7%; as people here worked out for 3.7 hours more per year than the recommended guidelines. Comparatively, the state that had the overall highest fitness deficit was Wyoming at 35.6 hours (-35.6%).

View the following infographic illustrating how much fitness debt each state is in:

Created by BarBend
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‘For some of us, 150 minutes sounds like a lot of time to allocate towards exercising, but when you break it down into more manageable chunks, it becomes far easier to meet your fitness goals for the week,’ says Max Whiteside for Barbend. ‘This could be half an hour per day, 5 days of the week, or you could even split up your workout into two parts – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It’s not about becoming a triathlete overnight, but it’s important to make sure that your body is getting the movement that it needs in order to give you maximum output – both physically and mentally!’

*The difference between the amount of exercise an individual should be doing (according to CDC recommended guidelines: 150 minutes per week), and how much exercise they actually do on a weekly basis.

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