How Much Weight Gain Is Normal in Your Thirties?

Reaching your 30s can be both grand and challenging. Along with the pleasures and perks that come with being 30-something, this decade of life ushers in a high risk of weight gain for men and women. Although weight gain is common in your 30s, it is not inevitable or necessary. Maintaining a healthy weight during your 30s reduces your risk of overweight, obesity and chronic illnesses in later adulthood.

Weight Gain

Weight gain in your 30s is often a continuation of gradual weight creep that begins in your 20s. In a 2003 article published in the "International Journal of Obesity," T. Joseph Sheenan, Ph.D., and colleagues report that the rate of weight gain during adulthood is highest between 25 and 35. White men and women in the study gained an average of 0.9 pounds and 0.8 pounds yearly, respectively. Black men and women gained an average of 1.2 pounds and 0.9 pounds per year, respectively. Although the amount of weight gain may initially seem inconsequential, the long-term effects prove significant. Weight gain continued throughout adulthood among the 5,117 study participants through age 60.

Metabolic Factors

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Metabolic changes contribute to weight gain during your 30s. Your metabolic rate decreases approximately 2 percent per decade after age 20. Gradual loss of muscle mass proves a major factor in the reduction of metabolic rate as you age. A lower metabolic rate means you require fewer calories to maintain your weight. Failure to reduce your calorie intake to adjust for the decline in your metabolic rate commonly leads to gradual weight gain in your 30s and beyond.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors significantly affect the potential for weight gain in your 30s. Work and family demands may make it difficult to set aside time for regular physical activity, augmenting the tendency for metabolic rate reductions. Among women, pregnancy-related weight gain may persist long after giving birth. Dietary choices also prove important. In a 2011 article published in the "New England Journal of Medicine," Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian and colleagues report that adult weight gain correlates with how much people eat potatoes, potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meats, unprocessed red meats, refined grains, sweets and desserts. The study further demonstrates that increased dietary consumption of nuts, fruits, vegetables, yogurt and whole grains protects against weight gain.

Long-Term Risks

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According to a 2005 study published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," people with a normal body weight at age 30 have a 50 percent chance of becoming overweight and a 25 percent chance of becoming obese by age 60. Avoiding weight gain in your 30s helps maintain your good health by avoiding the increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes associated with overweight and obesity. Regular physical activity and a healthful diet help prevent weight gain during your 30s and later adulthood.