Feel like you’re the only one on a diet these days? Turns out you might actually be right.
In a survey of 26,000 American adults conducted by the Port Washington, NY-based market research firm NPD Group Inc, it was found that only 29% of women and 19% of men are on a diet, compared to 35% and 23% of women and men, respectively, a decade ago.
What hadn’t changed, however, was adults’ desire to lose weight, which has held relatively steady since 2001 at about 60%.
To achieve their weight loss goals—which, according to the survey, have shifted to now include the notion of weight loss as a means to improve overall health for just over two-thirds of dieters—many dieters are taking a do-it-yourself approach. Specifically, they are parlaying the uptick in educational resources on healthy eating as well as the increased availability of more detailed nutritional information on packaged foods to guide their slim-down efforts. However, 9% of adult respondents still reported resorting to extreme forms of dieting, including severe calorie reduction or other fad diets.
Commenting on the changing perceptions of dieting in American culture, one NPD executive noted that “the problem with diets is most people feel deprived, or they’re disappointed with the results” and that for the majority of Americans, diets are no longer considered a long-term healthy lifestyle.