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New survey finds there’s a major change in why people want to lose weight

The Mayo Clinic Diet surveyed more than 200,000 Americans and found that looking better isn’t the biggest motivation for weight loss. 

When it comes to weight loss attempts, motivation matters.

But as we approach the summer season, it’s not the idea of revealing swimsuits that’s motivating most Americans to shed pounds.

According to the results of a new survey from Mayo Clinic Diet, there’s been a major change in why people are dieting — and it has more to do with biomarkers than it does bikini bodies.

After surveying more than 200,000 Americans, the results of the Diet Mindset Assessment found that, post-pandemic, 83% of participants are more motivated by their health than any other aspirations to lose weight — that's five times greater than those concerned primarily with physical appearance.

“We think there may be a new movement on focusing on improving health,” Mayo Clinic associate professor of Medicine and Nutrition Dr. Donald Hensrud told TODAY Monday.  

In a press release, Hensrud also noted, “It means a lifestyle-changing dietary program — like the New Mayo Clinic Diet — will be a good fit for them and is more likely to have positive results that will last for a long time.”

The survey was commissioned by Digital Wellness, the company that operates the Mayo Clinic Diet online program, in partnership with Mayo Clinic Press. 

Related: It’s hard to lose weight. A doctor shares 6 essential tips to make it easier

With wellness in mind, dieters are approaching weight loss for themselves rather than others, and that may be a key to their success — an important point for the 55 percent of participants who reported dieting six or more times in their lifetime.

As for the most motivated of all dieters, the survey results show woman take the lead at 67%. 

But as NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar highlighted after the survey’s release, while having a motivation is important, the amount of motivation doesn’t really matter.

“They found that people anywhere on the spectrum of motivation actually lost an equal amount of weight,” she said. 

However, she emphasized that the primary purpose wasn't "that point on a scale or to fit into those size-whatever jeans."

Instead, "It was really more about ‘Oh, look at my resting heart rate.’ ‘Maybe my blood sugar is better.’ And again, if you’re feeling healthier inside, there’s going to be that external effect."